Calen Addison's time in Minnesota is over.
First reported by ESPN's Kevin Weekes and later confirmed by The Athletic's Michael Russo, the Minnesota Wild have traded defenseman Calen Addison to the San Jose Sharks for a fifth-round pick in 2026.
Addison, 23, was acquired by the Wild in a deal that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins, all the way back in February 2020. Since then, he has developed as a stellar offensively gifted defenseman in junior, and then shaped his craft as a playdriver in the AHL.
Being a defenseman that cares more about offense has led him down a tricky path in Minnesota. His place on the roster has never felt secure and he has gone through the process of head coach Dean Evason scratching him consistently and never truly given a massive opportunity to shine during many games.
This insecurity has now caused Addison to be dealt for almost nothing to a team that is projected to finish at the bottom of the league standings.
For the Wild, this could be just giving the young blueliner a new opportunity and not getting buried by the depth chart. With the returning Jared Spurgeon, and the emergence of Brock Faber in his first full regular season with the Wild, the right side of the blue line is stacked fairly high with talent. To have another puck-moving defenseman on the bottom pairing must feel like overkill for a Wild front office and coaching staff that prefers simple hockey over anything fancy.
Dakota Mermis and Daemon Hunt have provided what they want from that bottom pairing -- tough, physical, able to be just good enough in all three zones -- and with Jon Merrill and Alex Goligoski available as well, Addison has been easily lost in the shuffle.
Why for just a 2026 fifth-rounder, though? The salary cap is tight around the NHL, and even though Addison has shown flashes of brilliance, he still isn't anything certain. The 23-year-old would need to pass through waivers if he were to be sent down to the AHL, so if it doesn't work out, then why would his theoretical new team pay handsomely for the player that they could lose for nothing?
The Sharks are able to part ways with some minimal value and give him loads of opportunity on a bad team to rejuvenate his career.
The writing was on the wall for Addison. A demotion to the second power play unit, not being trusted to play in the top-four consistently, a history of healthy scratches -- it was either going to be a mountainous improvement by the player to make the Wild's coaching staff trust him, or continue his career elsewhere.