Wild GM Bill Guerin is still getting a sense for his team but it appears there are some players he’s open to moving on from. Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reports that Minnesota has made forwards Ryan Donato, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Kevin Fiala available.
Two of those players were fairly recent acquisitions of former GM Paul Fenton who brought them in through a pair of trades back in February in advance of the trade deadline. However, those acquisitions were questioned at the time and neither player is off to a particularly strong start this season.
Donato just became waiver-eligible on Thursday when he played in his 80th career NHL game (regular season and playoffs). He has shown flashes of being able to contribute in the NHL both early in his time with Boston as a rookie and Minnesota last season. However, the results haven’t been too strong in between. Nonetheless, given that he’s only 23 with a manageable contract at $1.9MM per season for two years, he should have some suitors around the league.
As for Eriksson Ek, he hasn’t lived up to his draft billing that saw him go 20th overall back in 2015. While he is a capable defensive center, the production hasn’t been there as he has just 38 points in 155 career regular season games. He’s currently on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury but did skate with the team on Friday so it appears he’s close to returning. Eriksson Ek is also on a bridge contract that carries a $1.4875MM AAV through 2020-21.
Fiala, meanwhile, was Fenton’s most notable acquisition as he parted with Mikael Granlund to get him at the deadline. Unfortunately for Minnesota, Fiala hasn’t rewarded their faith in him. He had just seven points in 19 games down the stretch last year and has just a single helper in seven contests so far this season. He’s not far removed from a 48-point campaign in 2017-18 though so the asking price will justifiably be high. Fiala is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3MM cap hit.
Interestingly enough, these players are all among Minnesota’s youngest with no one being older than 23. For a team that looks like they need to try to rebuild in the near future, players of this age are typically the ones that teams in this situation look to acquire, not trade away. Guerin is believed to be willing to listen on pretty much everything and with these players available, he should have some interesting trade scenarios presented to him.