The Minnesota Wild are a brand new team

It has been one of the busiest off seasons for NHL teams, particularly the Minnesota Wild. With both the expansion draft and the entry level draft occurring last week, the Wild were willing to make some pretty hefty trades to keep their team intact.  With free agency starting on July 1st, however, nothing is certain when it comes to the Wild’s 2017-18 roster.

During draft week, the Wild made some quick deals which cost them both veteran players and prospects.  At the time of the expansion draft, the Wild wanted to ensure that the Vegas Golden Knights would not take some of their top defensemen in the draft, such as Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella.  In order to do so, they handed over one of their top prospects Alex Tuch, who was their first round draft pick in 2014.  However, the Wild still had to lose a current player on their team in the expansion, so Vegas selected left-winger Erik Haula, who spent his last four seasons in Minnesota and totaled 26 points this past season.  But that wasn’t the end of the draft week surprises. On Friday, June 23rd, the Wild traded centerman Jordan Schroeder to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Dante Salituro.  Although Schroeder may not have been a top scorer in Minnesota, Salituro lacks any NHL experience as he played in the junior league last season.

Despite making it through draft week, the Wild were nowhere near done with making some changes to their roster.  On the Friday before free agency began, the Minnesota Wild and the Buffalo Sabres made a blockbuster trade which would send both Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to Buffalo while the Wild acquired Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.  Something seems a little strange with this trade deal.  The Wild not only steered Vegas away from taking Marco Scandella the previous week, but they also included Jason Pominville in their protected list for the draft.  Perhaps for trade power?  That would make sense, except in this scenario, the Wild are only taking value away from their team.  Marcus Foligno will be a great addition to the team as he is built to be a major scorer when given the chances.  Tyler Ennis, on the other hand, is more of a gamble.  Ennis has been riddled with injuries, only playing 51 games last season and 23 game the season prior.  Are they worth losing two veterans?  We will see how well they mesh with the team very soon.

And finally, we reach free agency.  Although the free agency period has just begun, the Wild have already made several moves.  On the first day of free agency alone, the Wild signed seven player contracts.  The Wild acquired defenseman Ryan Murphy from Carolina, Landon Ferraro from St. Louis, Cal O’Reilly of Buffalo, Alex Grant of the Providence Bruins, goaltender Niklas Svedberg of the Boston Bruins, Kyle Rau from the Florida Panthers and Kyle Quincey from Columbus.  While the Wild may have gained quite a few players for a small sum of money, they still had to lose some of their own to create space for their new members.  Today centerman Martin Hanzal signed with Dallas and both defenseman Christian Folin and backup goalie Darcy Kuemper signed with Los Angeles.  And all of this happened on day one, who says more trades aren’t already aligning.  So, will we even recognize this Minnesota Wild team by the time the 2017-18 season begins? Probably not.  But every organization must make some tough decisions at this time of year, and hopefully these choices will work out in the Wild’s favor.

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