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Rumor: Eric Staal blocked a big trade between the Wild and Bruins.

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This one probably won't be making fans in Minnesota too happy. 

Earlier this month the Minnesota Wild pulled off a trade with the Buffalo Sabres that sent veteran forward Eric Staal to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Marcus Johansson and it was a deal that caught many by surprise. For one it looked to many like the Minnesota Wild had just flat out lost the trade by giving up the best player in the deal and acquiring an often injured and inconsistent Johansson in exchange, and that may very well be the case. There may however have been a good reason that the Wild got such a limited return in exchange for Staal. 

On a recent episode of the Instigators podcast, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Wild had actually made several attempts to trade Staal in the past, only to have Staal use the trade protection provided in his contract to block the deal. Staal, as per the terms of his contract, is allowed to submit a list of 10 teams that he will not accept to trade to each year and he had been consistently listing the NHL's top contenders, the teams he felt would be most likely to trade for him prior to a playoff run. It was for that reason that the Sabres were not on that list, and it may very well be the reason why the Wild pulled the trigger on what many view as a questionable trade.

Although we don't know the nature of all 5 trades blocked by Staal, Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo did make comments back around the time of the 2019 NHL trade deadline that indicated one of those trades would have been with the Boston Bruins. Staal wanted to remain in Minnesota, where he is now building a retirement home, and  according to some reports Staal even threatened to retire if he was traded, although I don't know that this was ever officially confirmed. According to Russo the Bruins deal would have sent both Sean Kuraly and the Bruins 2019 first round draft pick to the Wild in exchange for Staal, and I suspect fans in Minnesota would have been much happier with that than what they got this time around.