Wild General Manager Bill Guerin got the ball rolling on Monday night, in what could be a complete overhaul of his team, by trading Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk, Calen Addison, and a conditional 1st round pick. He was quoted before the Wild’s recent game against the Vegas Golden Knights, stating “If there is quit, there will be more trades”. Despite trading one of their better players in Zucker, Guerin mentioned that he still expects his team to compete for a playoff spot. The Wild are currently 4 points back of the 2nd wildcard spot in the Western Conference with 60 points in 56 games. However, they have 3 games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who currently sit in that final wildcard spot.
Despite Guerin’s recent quotes, we still believe the Wild will be massive sellers at the February 24th trade deadline, as rumors of trades surrounding defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba have been plentiful. Dumba has three more seasons of team control, while Brodin only has two. Brodin has roughly $2 million cheaper salary than Dumba but is a left shot instead of right. Elite right-shot defensemen are difficult to come by, and a recent article suggested the Wild’s asking price on Dumba is an NHL caliber center, a 1st round pick, and a prospect. Should the Wild decide to be sellers, they would certainly have two of the best defensemen on the market in terms of AB. At 25 and 26 years old respectively, Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin both have positive career AB scores as a defenseman with 5 years of data for Dumba and 7 for Brodin. Brodin has a slightly higher score at +0.25 compared to Dumba’s +0.20. Brodin has a much better +/- number of +13 than Dumba, who is currently -7 for the Wild this season despite each playing in 56 games. Both defensemen give the puck away more than they’ve taken it away this season with Dumba’s ratio being 28:18, and Brodin’s being 15:10. Impressively, Brodin has only taken 1 more penalty than he has drawn with a ratio of 8:7 despite playing 21+ minutes per game. Dumba is equally as impressive, with a ratio of 14:10. Dumba is also playing 3 minutes more per game than his previous career average of 19:51 minutes per night. Both defensemen would be great additions to teams, and the Wild have every right to demand a high price for their top assets.
As we mentioned in our previous Wild article, we don’t believe recent acquisition Alex Galchenyuk remains a member of the team past the February 24th trade deadline. For more information regarding Galchenyuk’s statistics and our thoughts on his current situation, please read our article on it here. Another asset that teams are looking to acquire from the Wild is forward Ryan Donato. In his one season of data we have on him, Donato registered a positive AB performance with a +0.12 score despite being dealt from the Boston Bruins for Charlie Coyle at last season’s trade deadline. Donato has already surpassed his career-high in goals and points with 10 and 17 respectively this season while playing in 50 games for the Wild as well (also a career-high). It will surely be interesting to see what Guerin and his group decide to do before the deadline, as we could be witnessing a transition period for the Wild, as they attempt to rebuild their team. More to come.