FanPost

The time is now to make a move for Bill Guerin’s friend Marc-Andre Fluery

The quarter of the season is done and the Minnesota Wild are riding high as one of the best teams in the NHL. They have won their games off of luck, refined scoring depth, clutch goaltending from Cam Talbot, and having a productive blueline. At the moment you can’t pick out a glaring weakness out of this team other than their special teams. It’s been stable across the board and this team leads the league in goal scoring. It’s impressive considering the fact they’ve managed to have early season success with a struggling Kirill Kaprizov, who’s found his game, and Kevin Fiala has yet to be found on the scoresheet. Once he bursts into the scene this team will be hard to stop because they will be secured between the pipes as the team rides goaltending duo Cam Talbot and the 3-time Cup winner MAF. Cup winning teams usually win from having scoring depth, center depth, a productive blueline, and rock solid goaltending. Fleury would benefit heavily from a change of scenery and we will be seeing the VGK version of Fluery. Thus, making the Wild a contender for the Cup. A legit one.

How do we get MAF over here to 10,000 lakes?

Fluery carries a $7M cap hit, but luckily for the Wild it’ll be an expiring $7M contract. So that means Guerin can make a similar move like he did with Alex Goligoski and will choose to re-sign MAF for an affordable price. Giving us a HOF goaltender on our team. He still can play at a high level as he’s nearing 40. He will be motivated to go after his 4th Cup. This team will put fear into other team’s hearts because they will have a complete team ready for a playoff run with veteran depth and young talent. So here’s the trade package I made up and why I made it.

To Minnesota: Marc - Andre Fluery and a 2022 3rd

To Chicago: Kaapo Kahkonen, Freddy Gaudreau, Victor Rask, and a 2022 4th

Notice the pieces going to Chicago are depth pieces on our roster? No prospects! The only other piece going back is a 4th round pick. Other than that our prospects are untouchable. Other teams are bidding on Fluery because he’s a big name and has plenty of experience and winning experience. You put him behind a structure group he will steal games! We’ve seen it when we played Vegas and he would flash the leather all the time. We want that on our squad! If Fluery struggles you know what? Cam Talbot is here to shut it down. Or the other way around. This league is a 2 goalie lead and the Wild may want an experienced veteran to play behind Talbot. This will keep both players fresh and ready to make noise in the playoffs.

How did I come up with this proposal?

Well I’ve been doing some reading and the Blackhawks are uncertain about Fluery’s future and they want to restock somewhat using him in a trade. Guerin almost traded for Fluery once, but instead went the cheaper route signing Talbot. Now we see Fluery is possibly on the move again and with the right package Guerin can execute a trade. The Robin Lehner trade was mentioned and the Hawks may want to emulate the same trade approach, but at a higher price? You don’t want to overspend for a goalie who is aging, but MAF is still showing he can play in this league. You also don’t want to overspend for a rental no matter who his name is. So if the Wild are going to trade for Fluery he will need to be in net before Jesper Wallstedt comes into play. Talbot will have another year left in his deal. You will need to have stop gaps.

Kahkonen is the first piece to be moved. It makes sense that the Hawks want a goalie back in exchange because he’s their starting goaltender. They want a goalie. While I’m not quick to trade Kahkonen, because trading a young goalie is hard and I took time to think about it, he’s still an unproven commodity. He hasn’t played enough games and he could turn out to be a solid starter like Darcy Kuemper. We’re looking at the present though. Fluery is the better goaltender than Kahkonen no matter his age. While Kahkonen has plenty of years to grow Fluery can still provide better play despite his age and him being on the tail end of his career. Kahkonen is a replaceable goalie though. This team needs stop gap players so Wallstedt is next in line.

I saw in the Lehner trade a 2nd rounder was given up for him. We’re not trading a 2nd rounder if we’re trading an upside goalie in Kahkonen already. Gaudreau can solidify their bottom-6 playing behind Jonathan Toews and Tyler Johnson. He can play wing and center and the Hawks will be intrigued by his work ethic. While he’s been good for us, he’s replaceable because the Wild haven’t missed a beat during his absence. We’re fine without him. So he was easy to move. I’m not losing sleep over trading Guadreau. Not at all.

Rask is the next piece because of his contract. His $4M cap hit will be moveable in this situation. Gives them a solid depth piece. The Hawks will gain $4M of cap relief. He’s too expensive as an extra forward.

Next we give the Hawks a 4th round pick because they still get a mid-round pick. The pieces the Hawks get to keep full-time is Kahkonen, Gaudreau, and a 4th while more than likely Rask leaves in free agency.

How the Minnesota Wild became a legit contender after this trade?

We’ll have scoring depth this time and centers who can take on other team’s top lines. If anything the Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Marcus Foligno line is up to the task. The Brandon Duhaime - Nico Sturm - Nick Bjugstad line can do the same as well. We have 2 excellent shutdown lines who can provide energy and be a pain. We will have more scorers to support Kaprizov. Fiala should be scoring because we will bring up Matt Boldy from Iowa and improves our PP and Fiala gets his Zuccarello. Why not have Pitlick centering them? Makes a sick scoring line to backup the ZuccHartZov line. This is the chance for the team to have the scoring depth they always lacked. Here’s what the roster looks like now:

Zuccarello - Hartman - Kaprizov

Fiala - Pitlick - Boldy

Greenway - JEE - Foligno

Duhaime - Sturm - Bjugstad

Calen Addison/13th forward

Brodin - Dumba

Goligoski - Spurgeon

Kulikov - Merrill

Benn

Talbot

Fluery

We are now carrying 9 defensemen. I love the idea of Addison staying up here. Even though you rather have him playing next to Kulikov or down in Iowa getting playing time Addison can fill in if a forward or defenseman goes out. He gets PP time and he will improve the PP. He looked fine at forward. Nothing too fancy or anything, but he could adjust well like Dustin Byfuglien. In Chicago Byfuglien was a winger before turning into a defenseman. The same case can happen for Addison. It makes us a bigger threat in the West. Or we just get a 13th forward and send down Addison. Dean Evason doesn’t want to disrupt the chemistry on the blueline as we have 3 pairs rolling. Benn has been a solid depth guy. We got a complete forward group and a rock solid blueline that can produce points and be involved on the play, We are secured between the pipes because we have 2 goalies who can steal games, but with Fluery’s athleticism and glove it will make the Wild harder to beat. Superstar players on the opposing side will have to deal with Fluery too which they don’t want to. With Guerin’s relationship with Fluery and the possibility of Evason and Fluery getting along it makes sense for us make this move and avoid using up Talbot and suddenly we see another playoff exit. The Central Division isn’t going to stay the same. We will see improvements from other teams. The Central will be a tight race. This is for playoff sustainability. At some point Guerin may be interested in trading for his former teammate. Your goaltenders have to be your best defenders.

Just a food for thought.

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness.