It’s not exactly a secret that the Minnesota Wild’s biggest issue in 2019-20 was poor goaltending. Despite allowing just 29 high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 during the regular season — the second-fewest in the NHL — the Wild had the third-worst save percentage out of all 31 teams at the season’s pause behind only the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.
Devan Dubnyk, once regarded as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL, sharply regressed in 2019-20, logging a 3.35 goals against average and .890 save percentage in 30 games. Alex Stalock, despite playing quite well at times, was mostly average through 38 appearances with a 2.67 goals against average and .910 save percentage.
Wild general manager Bill Guerin was aware of the team’s struggles in net, and around the season’s midway point he apparently attempted to trade for one of the better young goalies in hockey.
According to a report from The Athletic, Tristan Jarry was a primary target for Guerin in the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Wild obviously weren’t able to get a trade for Jarry finalized. Instead, Minnesota shipped Zucker to Pittsburgh for a first-round pick in 2021, Alex Galchenyuk and Calen Addison.
However, this doesn’t mean Guerin won’t potentially try again to acquire a goalie from the Penguins. Pens GM Jim Rutherford told The Athletic that there’s “a very, very good chance” that either Jarry or fellow goaltender Matt Murray will be traded this coming offseason. Considering Jarry was voted to the All-Star Game at just 24 years old back in January, one can imagine Rutherford would ideally like to keep the young netminder around a little longer.
If this is the case, that would mean the 26-year-old Murray, who’s already won the Stanley Cup twice, could be headed elsewhere. While Murray’s 2019-20 season was arguably his worst as a pro (2.87 GAA, .899 Sv%), he has historically been a very good goalie for the Penguins. In 199 games as an NHLer, the Thunder Bay native has a .914 save percentage and averages 2.67 goals against per game.
It wouldn’t come as much of a shock if Guerin and Rutherford try negotiating another trade in the offseason. Before taking over as GM of the Wild, Guerin was the Penguins’ assistant general manager for over five years. The two clearly have strong relationship and they’ve already done business with one another in the past. Who’s to say they won’t do it again?