When looking at trades this offseason, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, the consensus of most of the internet is that the Wild's best window of time to challenge for the cup is in the next two or three years. Secondly, the Wild will need to score more if they are going to win a cup. Thirdly, the roster they currently have probably won't do that.That means the Wild will have to trade (or pick up a free agent) if they are going to make a deep playoff run.
Let me get this out of the way: I love the Wild's young players. Every time I pass the Hockey Lodge in the MOA, I salivate over the prospect of buying their jerseys, I cheer for them in the games, and I love the promise they show. That said, they are not the elite players I want them to be (not yet).
The Wild only have a few great seasons left from some of their older players. They cannot afford to spend those years waiting for the youngsters to progress. Charlie Coyle has, in 2 seasons (107 games), only scored 20 goals and garnered 24 assists (regular season). Nino Niederreiter has 16 goals and 23 assists in 147 regular season games. Mikael Granlund has 10 goals and 39 assists in 90 games.
These number are not gaudy. While it's true, all 3 performed better this year than in seasons past, none are superstar-level players. While we definitely expect them to continue to improve, there is a limit to how much each of these players can produce. The same is true of Erik Haula: in 46 games this season, Haula only had 15 points (6-9). His speed is exciting, and he shows promise, but promise is all it is.
The point of all this is: there are players out there who are proven scorers. They have shown the ability to regularly put up great production numbers, and they are not yet out of their prime. If the Wild can acquire a proven scorer by giving up someone who only shows promise, that is a good move.
Would it stink to say goodbye to Erik Haula, Jason Zucker, or El Niño? Yes it would. It might be in the team's best interest, especially if they can get ahold of a an elite talent in exchange. The Wild are a player or two away from rolling 3 quality scoring lines. Keränen might be that guy, or he might not. He will likely require some amount of development.
In the meantime, the Wild (and the fans) need to be ready to move a fan favorite for the good of the team. Work ethic, potential, and overtime playoff goals are great, but consistent goal production is even better; especially when your objective is to win a Stanley Cup.
Of course... all this said... I really hope we can find a way to get a scorer but keep Chuck and the gang.