The Minnesota Wild don’t need to deal Kevin Fiala so that Tyson Jost gets more of an offensive look

We take the time to evaluate this team as we see a sudden rise in Tyson Jost who was buried behind the Colorado Avalanche superstars. Bill Guerin saw the opportunity to make a low risk/high reward move. Turns out Jost is starting to get more comfortable and gets to turn the page in his career. Create his identity here. The new Jost is in Minnesota. Not Colorado. So we should see Jost blossom out of his shell more. What does this mean? Some people believe that Guerin is bringing in Jost to end up dealing Kevin Fiala. While there’s logical reasons simply because of the cap crunch and Fiala’s possible high demand of money it’s easy to move on from Fiala right? Wrong. Why not take on the challenge of keeping your elite star here. Yeah he’s not Kaprizov. However, we cannot ignore what Fiala brings to the table as a GREAT secondary guy to Kaprizov. How about we make our offer at $7M? Why not expand your skill? Has anyone thought of that? We are continuing to build a star studded core. With prospects still developing, but we have the depth, the Wild can actually be comfortable next season and we look at the lethality of the Minnesota Wild next season. Why not embrace things and see that Ryan Hartman and Freddy Gaudreau are placeholders, but are absolutely fine? Guerin wants this team to be faster and more skilled? Well let’s make that possible. Let’s start with our salary cap.

Salary cap: $8,183,912

This represents the availability of Guerin’s spending this offseason. So far. Who’s going to be extended next? We’re going to see a trade and if anything Matt Dumba should be dealt so Calen Addison can finally grow his game into the top-4 defenseman we want him to be. Yeah he’s not the same player as Dumba, but Addison looks to have better intangibles when it comes to moving the puck and quarterbacking the powerplay. He may not be the shooter Dumba is, but looks to have more of a complete game. He needs to continue growing into his frame. He’s not real big and needs more muscle mass. Needs to be around the best mentor for him to grow his game defensively in Jonas Brodin. Here’s where his leadership skills can come into play. For any defensive screw up there’s Brodin to save the day. We can’t keep Addison stuffed in the AHL. He's NHL ready!! We have more of a replacement for Dumba than we do Fiala. Simple as that. Make it a priority to keep on of your star players here. Who’s going to make more of a difference. Jared Spurgeon isn’t going anywhere. Addison has big shoes to fill as Dumba’s presence in the locker room will be missed. Either way the Wild are going to miss a good player no matter what. We shouldn’t expect Addison to be like Dumba, but like Addison. Our expectations need to change. If we don’t we’ll be left with disappointment. Comparing players. I see two different players in Dumba and Addison. Addison looks to be more of the smooth, skating puck moving defenseman who can quarterback a powerplay and does engage himself defensively. He can use more growth. We need to accept his skillset.

Trade Matt Dumba for a 2024 first round pick, a 2023 second round pick, and a tier 3 level RHD prospect (trade for another Jacob Middleton)

Losing Matt Dumba wasn’t the easiest decision for Guerin to make. It took a lot of time for him to make a decision. He wants Addison to get more games and be seasoned more. He was able to get a good deal in return. If Ben Chairot can get a good return in a trade then so should Dumba who is the better player. This is similar to the Jason Zucker trade. We don't take back cap this time though. Just picks and a prospect. We need more defensemen to be in the mold of a Middleton. Makes our blueline better in the long-run because of our current prospects Ryan O'Rourke, Carson Lambos, and Daemon Hunt displaying their toughness and talents. The 3rd round pick in 2023 we lost for trading for Nic Deslauriers we gained back as a 2nd round pick. If the Wild win the Cup then we lost a 1st round pick in 2022, but gained one by trading Dumba as a 1st round pick in 2024. A contender would like to take his contract, but with more cap space. By trading Dumba we gained $6M in cap space to sign Fiala as well as other key pieces. Can Guerin pull this off?? Yes! Here's how.

Cap space A: $14,183,912

The most important players to sign:

1) Kevin Fiala

2) Marc-Andre Fleury

3) Jacob Middleton

4) Nic Deslauriers

Sign Deslauriers to a 2-year deal worth $2M ($1M AAV)

Cap space B: $13,183,912

Sign MAF to a 2-year deal worth $3.5M ($1.75M AAV)

Cap space C: $11,413,912

Promote Marco Rossi and Calen Addison ($1,689,167)

Cap space D: $9,744,745

Sign Kevin Fiala to a 6-year deal worth $42M ($7M AAV)

Cap space E: $2,744,745

Sign Jacob Middleton for 6-years at $12M ($2M AAV)

Cap space F: $744,745 (final)

While the cap space isn't much the Wild are well equipped to still make a playoff run and be legitimate. Here's what our projected lines look like. Prepare to be amazed. We have 4 legit lines:

Mats Zuccarello - Ryan Hartman - Kirill Kaprizov

Matt Boldy - Freddy Gaudreau - Kevin Fiala

Tyson Jost - Marco Rossi - Brandon Duhaime

Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Marcus Foligno

Nic Deslauriers

Jacob Middleton - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Calen Addison

Alex Goligoski - Dmitry Kulikov

Jon Merrill

Cam Talbot


Going to go into more depth about the forward lines because now you have a top-12 fully capable of doing damage offensively and shutting down teams defensively. Even a team like the Colorado Avalanche will have headaches.

Mats Zuccarello - Ryan Hartman - Kirill Kaprizov

This line didn’t change. Why should we minimize Hartman? Just because he isn’t the most skilled guy on this line doesn’t mean he can’t repeat similar numbers. If anything these 3 get to play another season together as we are maximizing Hartman from next to nothing. Guerin wants to keep Hartman in a more responsible role. He earned his place next to these two. We get to still watch the magic between Kaprizov and Zuccarello. This line does just fine. Hartman will likely repeat his numbers again.

Matt Boldy - Freddy Gaudreau - Kevin Fiala

This line remains intact. The Boldy/Fiala connection will be put on display next season. Gaudreau may not be a high octane offensive player, but he does well enough offensively and is a physically fit player who can take on any line. He does a lot of the dirty work that goes unnoticed. We all want to judge him by his offense. It’s actually good enough to be a top-9 producer, but he fits in well to give Fiala and Boldy stability which is what you want in a center. I can’t see Evason wanting to break this line up. Neither Guerin.

Why not just make another scoring line? Your special teams will improve more than anything because you can place players in their appropriate positions. Fiala is going to remain here in Minnesota as they continue being a real perennial contender. You will continue to see magic on display. You will see a more stronger and experienced Matt Boldy. Fiala isn’t even in his prime years yet. Gaudreau just solidifies this line as Evason will continue to play it. Just sign Fiala!!!

Tyson Jost - Marco Rossi - Brandon Duhaime

Here is another high quality scoring line. Jost and Rossi should bring lots of dynamic skill. It gives us more scoring depth to work with. Evason loves to keep his lines together for the majority. Instead of breaking up lines who work well together why not make another one who can do the same? Think of the Blake Coleman/Yanni Gourde/Barclay Goodrow line, but younger and much more skilled. Here’s an opportunity for Jost to get more quality minutes and why not have him play with our best center prospect to make our team more legit? Duhaime should be able to thrive on this line because of his good straight line speed, finishing checks, crashing the net, and being a well-rounded player. With a highly skilled center in Rossi that should only elevate his production. Jost is showing to be a much more skilled player with the puck than Nico Sturm. He can play both center and wing. He should be a great complimentary guy playing next to Rossi as they feed each other pucks. Not to mention have Duhaime crash the net and do the dirty work around the wall.

I expect Duhaime to be heavier next season and more agile. Jost as well. Here’s another line who can do damage if the other lines go dry and it will happen. Rossi gets his own line! The most gifted center playing on our "3rd line" will put fear into other teams. Jost should have a rejuvenated career. Duhaime will also gain more love from the fans because of his intensity and being a much better power forward. This line will be intercepting pucks and pick pocketing players in the neutral zone. Think of this line as a shutdown line as well because everyone is reliable and defensive responsible. You aren’t hindering Rossi and Jost at all. They’re still getting good minutes. Rossi won’t have to feel pressured anymore. Hartman will be holding his place on the top line.

Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Marcus Foligno

This isn’t a 4th line. I repeat NOT a 4th line. We’re just spreading out our depth. This line still plays the way they’ve been playing. They are going to get heavy defensive minutes against top lines, and will outhit and outwork them. This is why Guerin signed Greenway. He loves believing in his players. Now we see how Greenway has transformed. It should mean more success in the future. They will wear and tear on top lines. As their opponent top lines are worn out our other lines can take advantage and score goals. They will be good at defending teams too.

We get another year of seasoning with Greenway and Eriksson Ek. We need to stop categorizing players and lines. Let’s roll 4 REAL lines that will give teams a run for their money even the very best. You see the Carolina Hurricanes? They roll 4 high quality lines as they’re playing Martin Necas on the "4th line". The Canes get to roll all of their lines and keep bodies fresh. This increases our depth. This line is a hybrid skilled line who plays a very heavy game. They’re still our identity line. If anything you’ll be able to split ice time evenly among forwards. There’s NOT a 4th line Evason and Guerin!!


Powerplay unit 1

Net front: JEE

Half wall: Rossi.

Bumper: Kaprizov.

Half wall: Zuccarello

Point man: Addison

Powerplay unit 2

Net front: Hartman

Half wall: Boldy.

Bumper: Jost

Half wall: Fiala

Point man: Goligoski

Well why don't we look at these legitimate powerplays shall we?

The top unit provides top notch puck moving ability and setting up JEE to clean up the garbage in front. Kaprizov is going to be more of the shooter here as either Rossi or Zuccarello set him up with their tier 1 passing. Addison gets to be the quarterback as he gets to break the puck out and controls the point. However, we'll be able to rotate confusing teams. Rossi could take over the point and set up plays. Zuccarello can as well easily. They'll set Kaprizov and JEE up for deflections in front. Addison now ends up being closer to the net as he gets to use his playmaking ability and put it on display. Dumba wasn't much of a playmaker. Addison does a mix of both. Expect this powerplay unit to produce. Now we look at its lethal backup.

The second unit is just as dangerous and effective. We get to see Jost blend in with Boldy and Fiala. Evason wants to use Goligoski's veteran presence and expertise. That's why Guerin signed him. This is another unit that can rotate players from the half wall and point to confuse teams. That's what's wrong with this team's powerplay now. It lacks creativity in order to strategize. Boldy and Fiala are quarterbacks. Jost gets an extended look right here as well. He's going to be able to get pucks on net more and Hartman will be a pest to the opposing team's goalie. He's better suited around the net more than anything when you compare his skillset to his counterparts on this current powerplay. He can take a beating.

Let's look at penalty killing lines:

Unit 1

Center: Freddy Gaudreau

Wing: Marcus Foligno

Defenseman 1: Jared Spurgeon

Defenseman 2: Jacob Middleton

Evason wants to keep the Spurgeon and Middleton combination going. Middleton is our lumberjack clearing bodies out easily. You are inspired by him after showing he's the only defenseman on this team who can outmuscle the likes of Alex Ovechkin around the net. He's going to outmuscle more people and clear pucks out. Spurgeon is a great positional player who does what he does best. Provide an active stick and even clear pucks from the goal line. Our captain. Middleton is all of the muscle. Gaudreau and Foligno is our duo pressuring players to give up the puck quicker and get sticks involved and providing physicality around the boards. An aggressive penalty kill is a good one.

Unit 2

Center: Brandon Duhaime

Wing: Jordan Greenway

Defenseman 1: Jonas Brodin

Defenseman 2: Dmitry Kulikov

I don't really care all that much about a real center being here. If anything the other team will have possession of the puck regardless. Greenway and Duhaime are good penalty killers. Greenway has a great stick and has shown that he can make an impact on the physical side finally. Duhaime is only learning more about being a power forward and thanks to his aggressive nature him and Greenway should make a killer duo. Either guy will take faceoffs. Brodin will take space away and be a Norris level player like he always been. Kulikov has shown to be a solid addition. Those two will be great on the backend for us. We should have a top-10 powerplay and a top-10 penalty kill when it's all said and done. Let's increase our depth.

We are now a team with 3 top scoring lines and a great shutdown line who can play around 1st line minutes. Think of how deep that sounds. That's how a playoff contender should be. Have plenty of depth scoring and a legitimate core. Our core player is Kaprizov, but he has more backup than before. Fiala, Boldy, Zuccarello, and Rossi are our next core of elite stars. Kaprizov's buddy Zuccarello remains here. Jost, Hartman, JEE, Foligno, Gaudreau, Greenway, and Duhaime are our secondary pieces. Each of them provide quality depth needed for Cup teams to win. Jost the Host is enjoying a breakout season. Hits 20 goals! Calling it now. Rossi winning rookie of the year. Boldy and Fiala possibly scratching the surface on 100 points? That may be a bit of a reach, but no doubt they can produce around a PPG. Jost and Rossi becoming our next deadly dynamic duo. Now you have to deal with these two. The GREEF line breaking people! LET'S GO!

Thanks for reading. Don't trade Fiala Guerin!!!!

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness.