The Minnesota Wild didn’t sign anyone in the morning of free agency opening up on Wednesday, but they did trade someone.
The Wild have sent defenseman Brennan Menell to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional 2022 seventh round pick.
The conditions on the pick is if Menell plays in 30 games for the Leafs during the 2021-22 season, a seventh-rounder is sent to Minnesota.
The 24-year-old right-handed defenseman didn’t re-up with the Wild last summer and instead took his talents overseas to play in the KHL, where he scored 38 points in 47 points for Dinamo Minsk. Returning to the NHL without a contract, the Wild were reportedly in back-and-forth negotiation with the blueliner, but must have not come to terms. Now, he’s heading to Toronto for basically nothing and with no contract in-hand and still a restricted free agent.
With three vacancies on the blue line — despite reports of Alex Goligoski eventually signing with the Wild — this is a bit of a head-scratcher depending on what else they do before the season starts. Rookie Calen Addison is a very solid talent, that should earn the third spot on the right side behind Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba, but this trade still leaves them with less flexibility. Now with no competition (barring any free agent signings) Addison should have a clear path to the lineup.
We’ll see where this goes.