The Minnesota Wild are going through a significant turnover this offseason. General manager Bill Guerin is turning over every leaf, looking for a chance to increase their likelihood of sustained success in the future, whether it involves young players or not.
Within the last week, Guerin traded away forwards Ryan Donato, 24, and Luke Kunin, 22, for assets that help them in the future. Donato was sent to the San Jose Sharks for a third-round pick and Kunin’s return from the Nashville Predators involved the 37th-overall selection for last Friday’s NHL Entry Draft — which ended up being Russian starlet Marat Khusnutdinov — and established center Nick Bonino.
Recognizing that sometimes selling high on some players might benefit the Wild in the future, Guerin is certainly pulling no punches when it comes to changing the look of this team for the 2020-21 campaign.
Eric Staal, Devan Dubnyk, and Mikko Koivu have found new homes for next season. All three of them are players entrenched within the NHL and have several years under their belts, but Minnesota is moving on. Young or old, Guerin is not afraid of letting you play for another team next season as he looks for more opportunity for different personnel.
One of the — albeit rare this offseason — players that have re-signed with the Wild is forward Jordan Greenway. At 23-years-old, time is certainly on Greenway’s side, but his recent play has left fans and management alike wanting more from the physically-gifted skater.
On the bright side, the young forward recognizes his lack of consistency.
“I need to set my standards for myself higher,” said Greenway told The Athletic. “That’s something Billy [Guerin] and I talked about. I have to be more consistently better. When I’m playing well, I have a big impact on games. But I don’t think I do it enough. Consistency’s one thing that I definitely have to work on, and having an impact every night on games is definitely a focus for me going forward.
“There’s a lot more that I have to give and a lot more that I’m gonna give. Part of it comes with time and experience and the other part is me holding myself to a higher standard and making sure I do the things necessary to have an impact. I have a lot more to give.”
Greenway scored eight goals and 28 points through 67 games before the 2019-20 regular season was ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is an improvement from 24 points in 81 games during his previous campaign, there was still more to be desired from Greenway’s second full season.
Whether it is recency bias due to his pointless postseason or an overall impression Greenway left from his 67 games last season, there was certainly change needed and luckily the player is fully aware.
With Guerin breathing down the necks of any moveable player, potentially squeezing any value out of a player that might not have a long future in Minnesota to further build upon this rebuild, there is immense pressure on a player such as Greenway. Already seeing similar teammates moved to new teams, the 23-year-old is one of few players that could be moved in the next couple years, depending on how he performs during the length of his new contract.
For a team that is laden with players that hold no-move or no-trade clauses, or simply contracts that no other team would want a part of, there are only a few players that can be moved to further work towards sustained success in the future. If Greenway wants to be a part of this hypothetical Minnesota team that remains in the hunt for its first championship, then he must play to his projected ability and earn a larger role on this team. He certainly has the tools to grow into a force on the ice.