The Minnesota Wild were expected to shake things up after another disappointing playoff run and made that clear when they replaced general manager Chuck Fletcher with Paul Fenton. One forgets that Fenton as the assistant to David Poile in Nashville for the past 20 years, has been involved in many blockbuster trades in that time. So, don’t be surprised to see the team make several big moves this offseason.
The Athletic’s Mike Russo (subscription required) delves into several potential trade candidates and what the chances are that Fenton might move them. At the top of the list is winger Nino Niederreiter, who might be the perfect trade candidate. After three 20-goal seasons, Niederreiter came up two goals short this year, but also missed 19 games this year with a high ankle sprain and a broken fibula. Unfortunately, Niederreiter also has struggled in the playoffs recently combining for just one assist in 10 playoff games over the past two seasons. However, the fact that he’s 25 years old and is locked in for another four years at $5.25MM AAV could make him the team’s biggest trade chip. Throw in the fact that Jason Zucker and Zach Parise are listed as the top two left wings on the team, he is expendable.
While he analyzes a number of trade candidates in the article, Russo suggests that despite going well out of their way to protect Mathew Dumba at the expansion draft last season (that cost them Erik Haula and Alex Tuch), Dumba rewarded the team with a career highs in goals and assists with 14 goals and 36 assists. Now a restricted free agent, the team must decide whether Dumba is worth a long-term deal and if not, the Wild might want to move him while his value is high.
- With the team’s success this year, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee refers to their 2017 first-round picks, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom as “long shots” to making the team next season, according to SinBinVegas. If one of those picks were to make the Golden Knights roster out of training camp, they would have to be “really, really good.” McPhee also said he doesn’t believe teenagers belong in the NHL and the team must take more responsibility to develop their prospects properly. “Smartest thing we can do is take our time and develop them,” McPhee said.
- Sticking with the Vegas Golden Knights, David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that McPhee said the team continues to pursue Russian winger Nikita Gusev, who the team acquired in an expansion-day deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year. The 25-year-old has scored 46 goals and tallied 133 points over the past two seasons in the KHL. He still has one more year remaining on a two-year deal he signed last summer, so the Golden Knights have to wait a while longer. “He’s got another year on his deal and then we’ll see what we can do. He’s a talented guy and we’ll do what we can to get him here. We’ve talked to him, and we’ll continue to talk to him,” McPhee said.