The Minnesota Wild has won just once in its last seven games, but it did not stop head coach Bruce Boudreau from guaranteeing that his team would make the postseason.
“We’re going to make the playoffs,” Boudreau said Thursday after the Wild’s practice at TRIA Rink in St. Paul. “That’s about as elaborate as I want to get. You want me to predict how many wins we’re going to have in the last month and a half? No. But we’re going to make the playoffs.”
However, it seems like general manager Paul Fenton might have another plan in mind ahead of the trade deadline. According to team insider Michael Russo of The Athletic, Fenton has gotten the green light to make trades in the coming week, even if it means that the Wild will fall out of playoff contention.
“That suddenly means that in addition to the prototypical pending free-agent trade-deadline rentals like Staal and Eric Fehr being on the block, Fenton — who last month dealt Nino Niederreiter to Carolina — has permission to trade core players like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker and Jonas Brodin even if the result is the Wild taking a step or two back in the short-term in an attempt to get better in the long-term.”
The Wild has often barely clinch a playoff spot and struggled to remain in contention. Trades to build a better future could ensure that Minnesota could be a true contender for a Stanley Cup - not just the postseason.
With captain Mikko Koivu out for the remainder of the season, and potentially out with star defenseman Matt Dumba for just as long, it seems almost impossible for the Wild to make it past bigger contenders in the West in the Winnipeg Jets, the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators. Therefore, it might be the right time to make major moves and focus on the future.
“The only untouchables are likely Zach Parise and Ryan Suter because their no-move clauses effectively make them untouchable, the injured Koivu and Dumba, youngsters Jordan Greenway, Luke Kunin and Kirill Kaprizov and their first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft,” adds Russo.
The Wild has several rentals in Staal, Fehr, Hendricks, Brad Hunt, Nate Prosser and Anthony Bitetto that they can move, and let’s not forget Charlie Coyle, who has always interested rival clubs. Russo believes Granlund, Zucker, Jared Spurgeon and Joel Eriksson could also be offered by Fenton.
Minnesota could benefit from a hockey trade, and also the addition of starpower and young prospects.
Even if it costs them a spot in the playoffs…