When a team makes a draft pick to select a player who is NCAA-bound, they make the pick with the understanding that there is a potential risk of that player graduating from college and then being free to sign with another team. On that front, the Minnesota Wild have a dilemma that centers around Jack McBain, the player the team drafted 63rd overall in 2018. McBain is currently a star player for Boston College, where he has 18 goals and 29 points in 22 games this season. He is clearly a quality prospect, but the issue for the Wild is the situation surrounding their control over the rights to sign him. McBain is nearing the end of his tenure at Boston College, and is therefore very close to being able to decide for himself where he wants to sign, similar to Jimmy Vesey, who is an example of this happening in the past.
Why is this complicated for the Wild? Because McBain is a Toronto, Ontario native without much natural connection to the Wild other than being drafted by them. As Jeff Marek of Sportsnet states on Hockey Night in Canada, McBain could very well “chart his own course” and test free agency. The issue for the Wild, then, is what to do with the rights to McBain they still hold. Do they keep him with the intent on signing him, risking the potential of him leaving for nothing? Or do they explore the possibility, as Marek states they might, of trading his rights in a deadline deal to mine as much guaranteed value from their dwindling team control as possible. It’s most definitely something to keep an eye on as the deadline inches closer.
- As mentioned in the team’s Trade Deadline Primer, the Oilers’ goaltending situation should be their key priority when approaching the trade deadline. The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman examined that situation in more detail. (subscription required) The Oilers are in dire need of improvement in the crease, and the team could look to add outside help at the deadline. Nugent-Bowman floats four names as potential trade targets: Semyon Varlamov, Ville Husso, Braden Holtby, and James Reimer. He notes that Oilers’ GM Ken Holland “won’t send away top assets for rentals,” but also highlights the importance of the Oilers improving their play in net. Varlamov, Husso, Holtby, and Reimer would all be definite improvements over Koskinen and Smith, but the responsibility is on Holland to strike a deal if that improvement is to be secured.
- The Carolina Hurricanes caused a firestorm this offseason when they acquired center Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens via an offer sheet, a means of player acquisition rarely used by NHL front offices. But in order to do so successfully, they had to pay Kotkaniemi $6.1MM over one year, making it so if the Hurricanes want to retain Kotkaniemi’s rights this offseason, they must issue him a similarly-expensive qualifying offer. Kotkaniemi has had an up-and-down season, and has 11 goals and 22 points in 52 games, a 17-goal, 35-point pace over 82 games played, production that is not typically deemed to be worthy of a cap hit north of $6MM. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff reports that the Hurricanes and Kotkaniemi have had “productive talks” on the framework of a long-term contract extension, a deal that Seravalli speculates could be worth between $4MM and $4.5MM over a six or seven year term. If those talks end up in a contract with that term and cap number, it would be indicative of a significant vote of confidence in the 21-year-old Kotkaniemi, who has so far had a bit of a rocky NHL career.