The Minnesota Wild sit in first place in the Central and West with 84 points and a phenomenal +60 goal differential. The team is lauded for its top notch defenders and goalie but many people forget that they are ranked 3rd in goals per game to go with their 2nd in goals against ranking. From top to bottom Minnesota has talent. The young Mikael Granlund leads the team in Goals, Assists, and obviously points. The team isn’t just led by one superstar like Edmonton with McDavid as 10 players have 10 goals or more.
The off-season signing of Eric Staal has paid dividends and Nino Niederreiter has really flourished, each have 45 points on the season.
Minnesota is deep up the middle and on the wings but especially deep on the blue line.The Wild are STACKED on the defensive side of the puck. Led by the 7.5MM dollar man Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon on the top pair but the quality doesn’t stop there. Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella are all extremely talented defense-man and just scratch the surface of their defensive depth.
The Wild have the opportunity to trade a defenseman at the deadline to get a young cost controlled winger, but they may either wait for the expansion draft or may not trade any of them and just allow one of them to get picked up by vegas, but that is a story for a different day.
Dubnyk really doesn’t need much lauding, he has a 2.01 GAA and .933 save % which will most likely lead to his first Vezina trophy.
Besides Minnesota’s staple of defenseman they have a all of their draft picks besides their 2017 2nd rounder.
Minnesota should be trying to acquire some depth forwards or defenseman at the deadline. Someone like a Brandon Smith of Detroit but may be a little too costly for Minnesota.
Sticking with Detroit if they want a little more physicality on the fourth line they could target Steve Ott.
Similar to Washington doing any move may hurt the chemistry of the team, and therefore I would expect Minnesota to stay quiet at the deadline.
A sleeper trade would be trying to acquire someone like Evander Kane. Kane is a dynamic forward but has had his own off-ice issues and carries a 5.25MM cap hit. The Wild have the cap room to make the move if Buffalo retains some of its salary but would most likely have to expose him or trade him to sign their own guys over the offseason, so in essence a rental.
Granlund, Niederreiter, Haula are all RFA who will need raises and the Wild have a lot of money already locked up. They could be a surprise team to make a move if they realize that their window is closing, which I don’t think it is, but the Cap situation is an issue.
Update: Minnesota just traded for Martin Hanzal giving up:
2017 first-round pick,
2018 second-round pick,
C Grayson Downing
2019 conditional fourth-round pick. The conditions on the 2019 pick: If Wild advance out of first round, it becomes a third. If Wild advance to Western Conference finals, it becomes a second. Hanzal has to play 50 percent of the playoff games for the conditions to kick in