I absolutely despise some transactions. Some are great: Trades, rookie call-ups, some guy you absolutely loathe watching play for your favorite team get placed on waivers. But sometimes, it’s just a hollow move that will only leave you wanting more. For the Minnesota Wild currently, it’s having rookie defenseman Calen Addison up here and eventually expecting him to get sent down...but should he?
The primary reason why Addison has been given this chance is the injuries to Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon. Without them on the blue line, it was an easy pick to have another dynamic offensive option in Addison make his return to Minnesota. But now that Spurgeon is set to return from injury on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, it sets a timer on how long Addison will remain in the lineup.
And to make matters even that more complicated for head coach Dean Evason, Addison put in one of his best performances at the United Center on Friday, highlighted by scoring his second career goal via an absolute insane laser.
4-0! calen addison chases fleury from the net with a rocket! pic.twitter.com/W7SBlDBkzb— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 22, 2022
And he didn’t even have just a single point-shot goal, but he was able to make some damn plays as well.
addison ➡️ foligno ➡️ pic.twitter.com/iTszx3OggR— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 22, 2022
While his recent performances have been stellar, the fact of the matter is whether Evason sees him as a better option than some grizzled veterans like Jon Merrill or Dmytri Kulikov. There’s no sense in thinking that Alex Goligoski or the trio of top defensemen will suddenly be leapfrogged by the rookie, so the real competition is on that bottom pairing and I don’t see it being easy at all.
Especially since Merrill signed his three-year extension and Kulikov has been outstanding as well this season; when the blue line is at full health, Addison will most likely be taking his talents to Iowa.
“I’m trying to do what I can,” Addison said after Friday’s win in Chicago when asked about his current confidence and whether he sees himself staying in Minnesota. “I’m trying to pitch in offensively and show that I can play defensively just as well. I’m just trying to come in here every day and work as hard as I can. Whatever happens, happens. When the team wins, it’s fun for everyone, so at the end of the day, I don’t really care.”
At least the dude is staying positive no matter what.
With this streak of games, he has at least jumped over Jordie Benn in the depth chart — Addison was on the first powerplay unit for God’s sake. So we can celebrate that, but it’s also a double-edged sword that he is young and needs playing time. If there isn’t an opportunity for him to get on the ice consistently, then he will most certainly be in the AHL, and that isn’t hard to imagine when Brodin comes back.
What does this mean about this summer? When Matt Dumba has just a year remaining on his deal, and Alex Goligoski is rumored to have agreed to a “handshake deal” to sign with a big cap and then get extended at a lower salary? Who knows! That’s another blog for a different time.