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Wilderness Walk: Which Way to Go?

The hunt for a GM continues and a couple previews of the series in the West

Minnesota Wild v New Jersey Devils Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk around these parts about whether or not the Minnesota Wild are in need of a rebuild. It seems like most people are leaning towards “yes.” If the choice is between that and a minor tweak, then I’m inclined to agree. Of course, the spectrum of actions the new GM could take run the gamut from a single trade or a changing the team’s draft priorities all the way to overhauling the roster by shipping out numerous different players in order to collect prospects and picks. While I am certainly of the mind that owner Craig Leipold shouldn’t impose a “no rebuild” philosophy on the new GM (and in fact might be scaring away potential GMs with that hard line stance), I do think the future GM has more options than simply burning it all down and starting over. Here are a few directions I think things could go:

  1. Conduct two or three major trades that see important players swapped with another team. This would be along the lines of the “hockey trades” that saw Seth Jones and Ryan Johansen traded by the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets respectively. I wouldn’t call this a rebuild, but a couple of trades along these lines would make a significant impact in the character of the team.
  2. Keep the current NHL roster largely the same, but rebuild the prospect pipeline. In this scenario, the new GM would probably need some reassurance from Leipold that he’ll have at least a few years to bring this to fruition. In essence, the team’s current character would remain the same, but its new identity would be built and developed over the next few drafts.
  3. Out with the old and in with the new. Trade anybody older than 30 for whatever returns you can get and hand the reins of this team to players like Jared Spurgeon, Jason Zucker, and Matt Dumba. Obviously NMCs and NTCs would make this a difficult tact to take, if not imposible, but like the first direction above, it would make a significant impact on the team without technically being a rebuild.

Those three are hardly the only ways things could shake out. They would be more interesting and impactful than little tweaks though, and I’m a little concerned that little tweaks are all that the new GM will attempt in his first year. What do you all think will happen?

Wild News

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