This team is having problems signing both Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala. With Bill Guerin buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter he made it clear he wants to win and was aware of the financial consequences of buying them out. Jack Eichel is too expensive and he doesn't want to blow up the team by trading for him. Also it's been hard for Guerin to catch any kind of break. So it's fair to say that the Wild are better off rebuilding, but fans won't have to wait too long because we're going to get a haul for both Fiala and Kaprizov by trading them while their value is high. Fans will miss these two as they are our top star players, but Guerin doesn't want to end up being cap strapped. So here's what I'd do if I'm Guerin.
Trade Kevin Fiala to the New Jersey Devils for Nico Hischier
22 year old center. We need centers. Especially a potential top center. Already captain. Also has a $7.25M caphit for the next 6 years. TERM! No $10M Jack Eichel! So he's managable. Next he has 30 goal upside. He already has hit 20 at 19. He plays similar to JEE, but is more dynamic. You can trust him to play top line minutes. He's currently playing a 2C role on the Devils as Jack Hughes is their 1C. Hischier will be motivated once his role is extended and will handle the competition. He can back his game up with goal scoring. He'd be a great addition to the top-6. He plays around the net a lot to use his scary shot and can dangle around you once he sees you're out of position. He can embarrass you. He should be a positive influence in the locker room. An emerging Selke talent with the offensive ability to make an impact. If we aren't going to commit to Fiala long-term this is where you make a trade for a top-6 C, but is on a term deal to make things easier financially.
I know the Devils will be hesitant to trade Hischier, but Pavel Zacha looks like he figured out his offensive game and will replace him on the 2nd line. Also they have great young talent in Alex Holtz, Luke Hughes, Dawson Mercer, etc coming into play in a couple years. On top of that they will be led by Fiala and Hughes. They just signed Dougie Hamilton as well. So once Hischier is traded they will have the cap space to sign Fiala north of $7 million, which is what he deserves, and he gets quality linemates which is what he deserves too. Watch the Devils be successful. We'll be happy with Hischier. He's not the shiny Eichel we all want and need, but he's still in his youth and is just getting started. Also he'll take over 1C while Marco Rossi adjusts to playing either 2C or 3C in the NHL so he can build his way up to the 1C spot or Hischier emerges as our 1C and Rossi will be a great 2C. He's getting paid top line dollars to do so. You got it kid. Hischier and Rossi are only 2 years apart. So it looks like we finally got our 1 and 2 center. Eriksson Ek 3. Gaudreau or Sturm 4. Or Marat Khusnutdinov eventually becomes our 4C as a rookie. Khovanov? That's wicked deep.
Trade Kirill Kaprizov to the Detroit Red Wings for Lucas Raymond, Mortiz Seider, Filip Zadina, and a 2022 1st round pick
Yzerman built the Lightning. We're taking his top prospects and a couple more quality pieces and rebuilding. We should be in greater shape with OUR prospects too. The Red Wings will be blessed with Kaprizov and he will finally get his center to play with in Dylan Larkin. Then the Wings will be closer to contending again because they have their superstar and 1C in place. They also have goaltending depth with Sebastian Cossa and Alex Nedeljkovic.
He pretty much needs better pieces as of now to his puzzle such as getting a true #1 defenseman. Larkin is due for a rebound year. This could put the Red Wings back into relevancy. They signed Jakub Vrana who finally gets to shine and not be in the shadow of his former Washington Capital teammates. You didn't even need to give up Larkin in this deal Yzerman. Just your two top prospects, draft capital, and a depth scoring player.
All Yzerman needs to do is keep building up his blueline. He has the money to pay for Kaprizov for what he truly wants instead of settling for less. Kaprizov is a hot commodity because he will have the NHL figured out after his playoff experience. Larkin is his upgrade. Kaprizov is Larkin's upgrade. Both will have an effect on each other. Nothing more than pure greatness. Larkin needs to stay healthy. The Red Wings have nothing but expiring contracts which is perfect for Kaprizov to get locked up for big bucks and be drawn to staying in Detroit because they are known for Russian greatness in Pavel Datsyuk and the Russian Five.
Noticed I didn't ask for any centers? Or goalies? I'm looking for need. This team needs more scoring depth in their lineup. That should be the goal for Guerin if he takes this approach. Get scoring depth, but pieces that will help us complete the puzzle. Raymond is projected to be a 1RW. May not be instantly, but once he catches on quickly he's highly effective and plays to win. You have a potential franchise piece. Welcome Mitch Marner 2.0, but he will be more effective in the playoffs.
Now we talk about a favorite prospect who isn't a Wild prospect. Seider to me is the next Dustin Byfuglien. He plays a big and mean game on the ice. Those kind of players don't grow on trees. He backs that up with a complete game. He can contribute on both ends of the ice. Guerin would love the addition of this guy. We need more players with size and the ability to be an effective player on the blueline. Can you guys imagine Ryan O'Rourke and Seider on the same team? This will be fun. Followed by Calen Addison who is supposed to be a core player. Then the recently drafted Carson Lambos? Notice something here? Our future top-4 is here and won't be long until they all play together. A Cup winning blueline. Seider will be the next piece in line to replace Spurgeon. Liking this so far?
Next are Zadina and the 2022 1st. Zadina is still young and either can take the next step or struggle to still make an impact at the NHL level. He was drafted for his goal scoring ability. Think of a Phil Kessel type. He has taken the right strides. Perhaps he can benefit from a change of scenery? He's a rebuilding piece who can play an important role on the team as they rebuild. He needs to play with more aggression. That should change his compete level. He has the scoring talent. Wrapped up with now 2 first round picks? This is the kind of deal you make when trading your best player and possibly a future top-5 player in the NHL. Yzerman knows talent when he sees it. How about we give him our superstar for his prized prospects? He's out East too. Also we gain a scoring winger for depth (the good kind) and quality draft capital. Here are some other trades I thought of to benefit both sides and make us better overall.
- Jordan Greenway to the Red Wings for Tyler Bertuzzi
The reason why I considered this trade was because Bertuzzi has 2 years left on his contract and it's affordable considering he is a proven 20-goal scorer who plays a true grinding game and plays with an edge every night. If Guerin is going to manage the cap he needs short-term contracts. Greenway will be due for a new deal and his contract will be more affordable as Yzerman will take on Kaprizov's new big contract. Yzerman will be intrigued by Greenway's size and offensive abilities he possess. He led the team in assists and is one of the better defensive forwards on this team and is rising in the NHL. He needs to play with an edge every night. Greenway is also 2 years younger.
- Victor Rask to the Red Wings for a 2022 5th round pick
Yzerman has plenty of short-term deals already and Rask will be one of them added. What did he have to give up? Just a 5th rounder. We don't want anymore contracts or players. We need to move Rask's contract. For one year Yzerman can take Rask as a solid bottom-6 addition. A team who is in the process of rebuilding will take a one year expiring contract.
*Something extra down below
Trade Matt Dumba to the Montreal Canadiens for Jonathan Drouin and a 2022 1st round pick
The Canadiens have been trying to move Drouin. He hasn't exactly lived up to expectations, but still offers plenty of game-breaking offensive abilities and speed. He has 2 years left on his deal at $5.5M. So since the Habs don't have any cap space they will be $500,000 over the cap. Either we take an expiring contract less than a $1M or the Habs will have to deal with making sure that they are under their cap limit. The purpose of this trade is to get more depth at forward. Both players can use a change of scenery. The Habs have been after Dumba for a while. They need replacements for Shea Weber and Jeff Petry. Dumba fits the bill. Give us Drouin and it's done deal. Drouin game excites you a lot. Mostly a playmaker, Drouin still brings an accurate shot, but he prefers to be more of a passer who can set up plays. He needs to continue bringing an edge because he's a better player when he does. His skating is one of the best in the league. This will make the Wild quicker.
What did I gain after these trades?
Draft capital, high-end quality prospects, expiring contracts, depth scoring, and better financial stability. The Parise and Suter era will be officially over and we have a better and younger team ready to compete for a Cup.
Top: Drouin, Rossi, Hischier, Boldy, Raymond, Zadina, Bertuzzi, Eriksson Ek
Drouin (20 goal upside), Hischier (30-goal upside), Rossi (potential 1C), Raymond (potential 1RW), Boldy (potential 1LW), Bertuzzi (20 goal winger), Eriksson Ek (20 goal upside), and Zadina (potential top-6 scoring winger)
Developing: Adam Beckman (potential top-6 scoring winger), Khusnutdinov (potential top-6 C), Pavel Novak (quality scoring winger), Vladislav Firstov (quality scoring winger), Alexander Khovanov (potential top-6 center), and others.
Draft picks: 3 1st round picks in 2022!
Top: Addison (potential top-4 offensive defenseman), Seider (potential hard-hitting, two-way minute eating defenseman)
Developing: Lambos (potential top-4 defenseman), O'Rourke (potential top-4 defenseman), Daemon Hunt (quality defenseman), Marshall Warren (potential top-4 defenseman), Jack Peart (potential top-4 defenseman), etc..
Top: Kaapo Kahkonen (potential starting goalie)
Developing: Jesper Wallstedt (potential franchise goalie), Hunter Jones (potential quality NHL goaltender)
Zuccarello - Hischier - Drouin
Bertuzzi - Rossi - Raymond
Boldy - Eriksson Ek - Zadina
Foligno - Gaudreau - Hartman
*Sturm and Bjugstad are extras
Don't focus too much on who's replacing who. I know people are saying Stanley you are technically replacing Kaprizov with Drouin. Then you're replacing Fiala with Bertuzzi or Raymond? This is a mini-rebuild, but now we have more scoring depth to count on and high-end prospects to go around. Notice how deeper we look? Our center depth is much better. If Raymond, Rossi, and Boldy clicks then immediately this team can contend. Not to mention the likes of Drouin and Zuccarello feeding pucks to Hischier to score goals. Once Zuccarello's contract is off the books expect Raymond or Boldy to take over the 1LW spot. What's important is that the team is better at center and their wingers will support them.
Bertuzzi has a wicked slap shot and one-timer. He's not afraid of a beating. Also he's a pest. Him and Rossi could make a great duo as he adjusts to the league, but has a goal scorer on his wing. This line should give opponents headaches on the forecheck because all 3 players are aggressive in puck retrieval which brings me to Raymond. Raymond has all the tools to be an effective scorer in the league and distributor. His ceiling is untapped. His work ethic is what drives him and he loves to have the puck on his stick. He loves to create a forecheck and pressure blueliners. His skating ability is high-end as well.
The 3rd line won't be assigned to shutdown teams. While they're capable of doing so their job is to attack and crash the net at all costs. They will be productive on both ends of the ice, but this 3rd line could help the upper lines and make the team deeper. Zadina will be the pure goal scorer, Boldy will be the driver, and Eriksson Ek will crash the net. Both Ek and Boldy are effective down low and behind the net which will open up space for Zadina. Now we have a 4th line that isn't a 4th line. They will be playing lots of minutes. Mostly defensive minutes, but they will be productive offensively. Will give you a headache too. If anything this line can handle tougher opponents.
Brodin - Spurgeon
Goligoski - Seider
Kulikov - Addison
Here's a blueline fans can get excited about. Brodin and Spurgeon are our top pairing and will have a heavy task. Goligoski will be mentoring Seider on the 2nd pair and should do a good job moving the puck up ice and Seider doing all the dirty work who should entertain the fans. Kulikov will be doing much the same with Addison. Addison will be the puck mover who has looked like he will adapt to the NHL. You could have 3 good pairings.
Lambos - Seider
O'Rourke - Addison) BAM YOUR FUTURE TOP-4!
I don't even want to trade our 2 best players, but if finances are going to be difficult to keep them here then let them be happy and financially secure elsewhere and we'll be happy with our rebuilding pieces.