Wild Musings- The Wild Trade Deadline 2/28/2012
It’s been a busy trade deadline for the Minnesota Wild. Last Friday, The Wild were able to turn disgruntled defenseman Marek Zidlicky into Kurtis Foster, Stephan Veilleux, Nick Palmieri, a 2nd round draft pick, and a conditional draft pick. This is a great deal for the Wild. Foster and Veilleux are big fan favorites, and guys who will get on the ice and give it all they have every time they hit the ice. Palmieri is a big power forward who knows how to use his size, and has the ability to get pucks at the net. All three of these guys looked good in the Wild’s victory over San Jose on Sunday, especially Palmieri who had some great scoring chances and really infused some energy into the offense. Foster looked good on the power play, and Veilleux was good on the fore check and great on the boards. I honestly thought the Wild were going to get very marginal returns for Zidlicky, so when they actually got people back who will help the team, and a needed draft pick (the Wild didn’t have a 2nd round pick in this draft) I was amazed. Now I do realize Foster and Veilleux are UFA on July 1st, and the Wild were taking back salary from New Jersey to fit Zidlicky in, but the players coming back will help. Perhaps the best part for the Wild is that they will be rid of Zidlicky’s cap hit next year, which will allow them more money to spend on free agents this summer. I think this was a great trade for the Wild. Hopefully the Devils will benefit from a Marek Zidlicky who is focused and trying, and not the guy that the Wild fans will remember from the last several weeks.
Deadline day for Minnesota was very bitter sweet. The Wild were involved in two deals on deadline day. The more expected trade they made was the Greg Zanon/Stephen Kampfer deal. Zanon was UFA at the end of the year, and the Wild have been carrying 7 defensemen for months. They got young defenseman Stephen Kampfer, who Chuck Fletcher said yesterday will start his Wild career in Houston. Kampfer is very young, and has experience playing with the Boston Bruins last year. This was a nice trade for both sides. The Bruins are getting a very gritty, hardnosed, shot blocking defenseman that will help them in their playoff run. The Wild are getting another young asset that may help now, or in the near future. The trade that took me and everyone I’ve talked to about it by surprise. The Wild traded Nick Schultz to the Edmonton Oilers for Tom Gilbert. Schultz was a heart and soul guy who had spent his whole career with the Wild. He was a great teammate that was very liked in that locker room, and the fans that took to twitter to wish him well show how much he was loved as a member of the Wild. He will be missed. With that said, I think this was a really good hockey deal for both sides. The Oilers are a young team that is going to be looking to build a good young defensive core in the next few seasons. Nick Schultz is going to be a great leader for that young defense. He is a good teammate, and is a good, responsible, defensive defenseman. Schultz is a good piece for a team like Edmonton to have. Tom Gilbert is a more offensive minded defenseman. He likes to join the rush, and contribute to the offense, which is always something the Wild are in need of. He also plays some good defense, which is always good. Gilbert will be around for two more years as well, which will mean that he will be able to grow with the young Wild Defense core. TSN was also very adamant about his friendship with Ryan Suter, and how that may help guide him to Minnesota this offseason. Personally, I am skeptical about that, but TSN made a note of it, so take that for what it’s worth. Speaking of TSN, they reported during their trade deadline coverage that Schultz found out about the trade from twitter or the internet, and not the Wild, and then made some not so nice comments about the Wild. This was untrue, Fletcher told Schultz about the deal, and TSN gave a very poor apology for reporting the story wrong. TSN is supposed to be better than that. I was a bit disappointed that they were a bit quick to throw stones. Other than that, I enjoyed their deadline coverage, and thought they did a great job keeping the show going between trades.
Among the other deadline happenings, I thought Nashville, Vancouver, and Boston helped themselves out quite a bit. Nashville is going to be a tough out in the playoffs- that defense in front of Pekka Rinne, look out.
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