With the NHL offseason just days away, trade rumors are continuing to heat up. While trades have seemingly been down during the offseason the past few years, this year looks like the trade market will pick up greatly as the expansion draft will offer teams the chance to get some cap flexibility to make some key moves.
The Wild are one of the teams who would greatly benefit from Las Vegas taking a bigger cap hit off their books (see: Pominville, Brodin, Scandella). Chuck Fletcher has not made a trade involving an actual player (not trades solely involving draft picks) in the offseason since 2013, but he does have some history of making shrewd moves before then.
Let's take a trip down memory lane, and review his offseason trades, when he still had the cap flexibility to do so:
June 26, 2009
Minnesota Wild trade a 2009 first-round pick (No. 12 overall, later drafted was D Calvin DeHaan) to the New York Islanders for a 2009 first-round pick (No. 16 overall, later drafted was D Nick Leddy), 2009 third-round pick (No. 77 overall, later drafted was G Matt Hackett), and a 2009 seventh-round pick (No. 181 overall, later drafted was F Erik Haula).
The first trade in the Fletcher era was nothing more than a trade involving draft picks, as Islanders General Manager Garth Snow was looking to move up from the 16th overall pick to take Calvin DeHaan. Fletcher accepted a third- and seventh-round pick in the same draft to allow Snow the ability to move up and take DeHaan. DeHaan has been nothing overly special, but he has been a serviceable defenseman for the Islanders. Meanwhile, the Wild had quite the haul in this one as the used the 16th overall pick to take Nick Leddy (no idea what happened to him after), the third to take goaltender Matt Hackett (later sent to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville trade) and the seventh to take University of Minnesota recruit Erik Haula. It's hard to say who got the better end of this deal, mainly because the Wild squandered away Leddy, but the Wild did get some nice returns out of the lesser picks.
June 27, 2009
Minnesota Wild trade a 2009 fourth-round pick (No. 99 overall, later drafted was D Kyle Bigos) and a 2009 fifth-round pick (No. 132 overall, later drafted was G Olivier Roy) to the Edmonton Oilers for the rights to F Kyle Brodziak and a 2009 sixth-round pick (No. 160 overall, later drafted was G Darcy Kuemper).
Needing to fill a void at center, Fletcher was able to acquire the rights to pending UFA Kyle Brodziak on day two of his first draft. He sent a fourth- and fifth-round pick to Edmonton for Brodziak, and Edmonton threw in a sixth-round pick to complete the trade. With that sixth-round pick, Minnesota took goaltender Darcy Kuemper and he was shaping up to be the Wild's goaltender long-term, but he kind of fell off a cliff after the 2014 season. Edmonton did absolutely nothing with their draft picks, and the Wild were able to sign Brodziak shortly after. He went on to play six seasons with the Wild before leaving after the 2014-15 season.
June 21, 2010
Minnesota Wild trade a 2010 fifth-round pick (No. 129 overall, later drafted was C Freddie Hamilton) to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for F Brad Staubitz.
"When in doubt, grit it out!" The fifth-round pick, Freddie Hamilton, did nothing for San Jose as the Wild acquired the noted grinder, Staubitz to roam on the fourth line. Such a bland trade. On to the next one.
June 26, 2010
Minnesota Wild trade a 2010 third-round pick (No. 69 overall, later drafted was F Joe Basaraba) and a 2010 fourth round pick (No. 99 overall, later drafted was F Joonas Donskoi) to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2010 second-round pick (No. 59 overall, later drafted was F Jason Zucker).
After having two picks in the second round of this draft already, Fletcher made a move to jump back in the second to make one last pick. To get pick No. 59 from Florida, the Wild sent their third and fourth round selections to Florida. With that second-round pick, Minnesota took Denver winger Jason Zucker, who has been a mainstay on the Wild for the past three seasons thanks to his speed out on the wing. For those wondering, yes, that is now Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi, who never signed with Florida after being selected with that fourth round pick.
June 16, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade D Maxim Noreau to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for F David McIntyre.
If you remember these two players ever putting on a Wild uniform (eight combined games for Minnesota between the two), hat tip to you. If you had to Google both players, you are not alone. Just a trade for AHL depth. Nothing more to see, here.
June 24, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade D Brent Burns and a 2012 second-round pick (No. 37 overall) to the San Jose Sharks for F Charlie Coyle, F Devin Setoguchi and a 2011 first-round pick (No. 28 overall, later drafted was F Zack Phillips).
A draft day blockbuster, which just happened to be right in the Wild's back yard (draft was in St. Paul that year). Stud defenseman Brent Burns was moved to San Jose in exchange for prized Sharks prospect Charlie Coyle, winger Devin Setoguchi and San Jose's first-round pick that year, which Minnesota used to draft Zack Phillips. Phillips never made it above the AHL, Setoguchi had two underwhelming seasons in Minnesota before getting traded to Winnipeg (the pick acquired for Setoguchi was sent to Buffalo in the Matt Moulson trade) and Coyle remains in Minnesota and is coming off a career year with 57 points. But what preceded this past year for Coyle was three uneven years (and even this last one could be described as uneven). The haul for Burns was lauded as great on the Wild's part, but given how Setoguchi and Phillips ended up, it's hard to see this one as a positive for Minnesota (despite the fact Burns was not reportedly going to sign here for the $5.5 million contract he ended up taking with San Jose). Fun fact about that second-round pick sent to the Sharks: The pick was sent to Tampa Bay later that year in exchange for Dominic Moore, and then was traded again to Nashville in a three player/three pick deal. With that 37th overall pick, Nashville selected Pontus Aberg, who had
June 25, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade a 2011 third-round pick (No. 71 overall, later drafted was G David Honzik) and a 2011 fourth-round pick (No. 101 overall, later drafted was F Joseph LaBate) to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2011 second-round pick (No. 60 overall, later drafted was F Mario Lucia).
Another case of the Wild moving back into the second round, as they grabbed local prospect Mario Lucia with the final pick in the round. Joseph Labate spent four seasons with the University of Wisconsin before being in Utica (with a cup of coffee in Vancouver) the last two seasons, while David Honzik never signed with the Canucks. Lucia played four years with the University of Notre Dame, and spent his first year in Iowa this past season. Lucia hasn't given much to inspire in the past two years, but he could still end up doing something for the Wild.
June 27, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade a 2013 third-round pick (No. 77 overall) to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for F Darroll Powe.
Once again, the Wild were needing depth (or just a body) in their bottom six, so they traded for Powe. Powe was a restricted free agent, and the Wild signed him to a three-year, $3.2 million contract a week later. After a full season with the Wild, Powe became a healthy scratch in the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13 and was traded to the Rangers in February -- a deal that sent Mike Rupp back to Minnesota. As for the third-round pick that Minnesota sent to Philly, well, it has a history. Philly sent this pick to Dallas in exchange for defenseman Nicklas Grossman, and then Dallas flipped this pick to Pittsburgh along with Brenden Morrow for Joe Morrow and a fifth. So who did the Penguins take with that third round pick? A kid by the name of Jake Guentzel. You may have heard of him in recent days.
July 3, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade F Martin Havlat to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for F Dany Heatley.
After two years of Martin Havlat, the Wild were needing to rid themselves of a locker room problem. Somehow, San Jose was a willing trade partner again, as the Sharks were willing to trade former All-Star and 50 goal scorer Dany Heatley to the Wild. This seemed like a clear upgrade for the Wild, who thought they were finally getting someone to fill the goal scoring role that had been left vacant by Marian Gaborik two years previous. In 194 games during the three seasons with Minnesota, Heatley tallied just 47 goals and lost a step or two by the time his time in Minnesota ended. As for Havlat, he could not stay healthy in his three seasons with the Sharks after the trade, only playing in 127 games. It's hard to give this trade a winner, because both players carried large cap hits, but Minnesota gets the edge here because Heatley was at least able to make it into the lineup on a nightly basis. It wasn't always pretty, but again, he was at least able *to* play.
August 7, 2011
Minnesota Wild trade F James Sheppard to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2013 third-round pick (No. 81 overall, later drafted was F Kurtis Gabriel).
The Wild finally parted ways with Sheppard, who was another one of Doug Risebrough's first round busts. In return, they got a third-round pick (how is this possible?) in the 2013 draft. With that pick, the Wild selected Kurtis Gabriel...who...plays a grinder's role down in Iowa these days.
June 30, 2013
Minnesota Wild trade D Justin Falk to the New York Rangers for F Benn Ferriero and a 2014 sixth-round pick (No. 167 overall, later drafted was F Chase Lang).
For whatever reason, Rangers General Manager Glen Sather was looking for some depth on his blueline, and one of his solutions was Justin Falk (no, seriously why did he do this?). Falk had fallen down the depth chart on Minnesota, as they had an influx of young defenseman on the roster. The Wild were just looking to move on from Falk, so they accepted career minor leaguer Benn Ferriero and a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft who they used it on to select Chase Lang.
June 30, 2013
Minnesota Wild trade F Cal Clutterbuck and a 2013 third-round pick (No. 70 overall, later drafted was G Eamon McAdam) to the New York Islanders in exchange for F Nino Niederreiter.
This is the holy grail of Fletcher trades. With a big contract looming as an RFA during that offseason, the Wild were looking to move Cal Clutterbuck. Snow and the New York Islanders came calling, as they were looking to offload prospect Nino Niederreiter, who they seemingly ran out of patience for (they might have wanted to try not signing him and then playing him on the fourth line for an entire season). Fletcher reportedly coveted Niederreter in the 2010 draft very much, but Nino never made it to the Wild at No. 9 (they drafted some guy named Granlund), as the Islanders took him fifth overall. You know how it goes from here: Clutterbuck has remained a Islanders bottom six staple (now making $3.5M per season) and Niederreiter has left his mark in Wild history.
July 5, 2013
Minnesota Wild trade F Devin Setoguchi to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2014 second-round pick (No. 39 overall).
After being acquired at the 2011 draft in the Burns trade, the Wild saw Setoguchi decline in his two years (63 points in 117 games) with Minnesota and decided to move on. Winnipeg offered a second-round pick to take the winger, and Fletcher accepted. But, in a very Fletcher like move, he shipped that second, and the team's original second for that draft, at the trade deadline the following season for Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick. Moulson and McCormick (mainly Moulson) did not provide the results the Wild hoped after the trade, and Buffalo flipped that pick to Washington on draft day, as the Capitals moved up to draft goaltender Vitek Vanecek.
June 28, 2014
Minnesota Wild trade a 2014 third round pick (No. 79 overall, later drafted was F Brayden Point) to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 2014 third-round pick (No. 80 overall, later drafted was D Louis Belpedio) and a 2015 seventh-round pick (No. 204 overall, later drafted was D Jack Sadek).
Tampa Bay was just looking to move up one spot to get Brayden Point. The Wild gladly accepted a 2015 seventh-round pick to oblige, and they took Louie Belpedio at No. 80 after Tampa took Point. With that seventh-round pick, the Wild took Lakeville native and University of Minnesota defenseman Jack Sadek.
June 27, 2015
Minnesota Wild trade a 2016 fifth-round pick (No. 136 overall, later drafted was D Cameron Clarke) to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2015 fifth-round pick (No. 135 overall, later drafted was F Kirill Kaprizov).
Believe it or not, but this was the last trade in the offseason Fletcher has made (no moves in the 2016 draft due to just having four picks). The Wild were without a pick in this round, as they sent that pick to Columbus in the highly popular Jordan Leopold trade. But to move back into this round to draft
Outside of the Burns trade, which was considered a nice return at the time but revisionist history now says otherwise, this is actually a pretty decent track record for offseason trades (outside of that worthless Staubitz trade), which is something some of his peers can not say. It's just during the season/at the trade deadline where the Wild GM goes a bit off the rails and maybe gives up a bit too much for rental players. You can say that for just about any GM, but at some point, a GM is able to have some kind of success with a rental player.
With players like Brodin, Dumba Nino Niederreiter involved in trade rumors recently, one would hope that Fletcher's track record of trading in the offseason continues. If it does not and he whiffs on a trade involving one of those players, that could spell the end of his run in Minnesota.