Reported and then officially announced before the puck dropped for the Minnesota Wild's game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, the Wild have acquired 29-year-old defenseman Will Butcher.
In return, the Pittsburgh Penguins received AHL forward Maxim Cajkovic -- a forward who was included in the Pat Maroon trade from before the season began.
Why are the Wild doing this though?
One stark and obvious reason is just to get depth on the blue line. With Jared Spurgeon out for the remainder of the season, and players like Dakota Mermis now a mainstay on this roster, the depth has become much more shallow than it was before.
And due to Mermis playing in the NHL instead of the AHL, since Butcher will be starting in Iowa, it could be seen as just getting a steady hand down in Des Moines. Before this trade, the oldest defenseman on the roster was 24-year-old Simon Johansson, who himself is playing hockey in North America for the first time. Other than that it is all players stepping into pro hockey with no steady force to guide them on the blue line.
We can imagine that was supposed to be Mermis, but with him getting called up due to the multiple injuries and then just sticking, the AHL blue line needed a hand.
Plus, Butcher should be a serviceable player no matter where he plays. In the AHL, he is clearly an offensive force. Just last season for the Texas Stars, the left-handed defenseman earned 43 points in 65 games. That would be decent output from any forward, let alone a blueliner. So, maybe just in case of emergency or a whole bunch of defensemen being traded at the deadline, Butcher could make his way to St. Paul while protecting the development of the prospects.
There are options now.
- And speaking of trades, whatever the Minnesota Wild do, they need to focus on the future and not short-term fixes. [Hockey Wilderness]
- The Wild had a one-goal lead against the Predators and they blew it. More from the 3-2 loss: [The Hockey News]
Off the trail...
- We don't know how they keep doing it (having very talented players, maybe) but the Edmonton Oilers just keep on winning games. They have won 15 games and are now just two more wins behind the record set by the historic 1992-93 Penguins. [Sportsnet]
- Top performers in the final years of their Entry-Level Contracts. Who could be seeing a giant contract at the end of this? [The Hockey News]
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