Three big trades in the final weekend before the deadline, and the Wild now have a very new look, particularly on defense.
Zidlicky for Veilleux, Foster, Palmeri, 2012 2nd rounder, possible 2013 3rd rounder. [Russo's Rants]
The State of Hockey was rightfully excited about this news. Zidlicky's value in Minnesota had almost dissapeared, and the Wild got 4 or 5 pieces in return. Granted, two of the pieces are rentals in familiar faces Foster and Veilleux, but honestly, with all due respect to everyone that's come up from Houston and played hard, I'd rather have these two in the lineup to hopefully keep the callups to a minimum.
As for the other pieces, I liked what Palmeri brought with Clutterbuck and Cullen on Sunday. These guys won't score many pretty goals, but they all forecheck hard and win battles on walls.
My early comparison to the Twins trading Frank Viola was a little premature given two players are rentals, but still Fletcher made a very good deal here.
On the other side, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello only benefits here if Zidlicky can become the threat he was early in his stint with Minnesota, and not the gun-shy player he has been over the past few months.
And to think I thought fans suggesting we get more than a 3rd rounder for Zid was crazy talk. I stand fully corrected.
Schultz for Gilbert. [SB Nation]
The news seemed gut-wrenching that the Wild have chosen to part ways with their longest-tenured player. I admit this is the most baffling trade to me. It's not about age (both 29), and not too much about salary or term either. (Gilbert's cap hit is $400K Higher, both deals end after next season.)
Fletcher's comments seem to indicate he believes Schultz and Gilbert are of similar value, just different styles. Gilbert being more of a puck-mover than Schultz would benefit the Wild.
But to be honest, I'm just not sure about this deal. I hope Gilbert ends up a better fit, but if he really is of similar value to Schultz, then is it really worth the risk of pulling Schultz out of the locker room? Gilbert's, even being a Minnesota native, is going to be under some pressure from the fans, becuase of the player he replaced.
Then again, there are plenty of Edmonton fans not sure about this deal either, so that in itself gives me reason to be hopeful.
Perhaps it is sentimentality for Schultz that is in fact clouding the evaluation of this trade. But I think it is risky without a lot of upside.
Zanon for Kampfer [Star Tribune]
I am a big fan of Zanon. I am sorry to see him go. I like his grit, I like his willingness to block shots, I think he's a good NHL defenseman.
That said, when fans complained about Doug Riseborough's refusal to make certain deals at the deadline, this is precisely the type of trade Riseborough failed to make.
I like Zanon a lot, but I can see that Yeo might not consider him a fit much longer. If there was no plan to sign him, this trade is a win for the Wild, from the standpoint of it's better than getting nothing in return. This trade is a win for Boston as well, they gave up a prospect in Kampfer that had a good rookie year last season, but the numbers haven't been there this year. Zanon can help them win now, the jury is still out on Kampfer, and I think there's enough potential to motivate the Wild rolling the dice. The Wild get another guy that can at least compete to become part of this new look defense, instead of letting Zanon walk for nothing.
If there's anything bad that can be said about this trade, it's that I think Zanon could've been valued higher. I think his bad +/- number is attributable to being often paired with the offensive-minded Zidlicky, which I think resulted in a lot of goals against where he was the only guy in the frame. Still, I think the Wild got an okay piece in return, and Boston made a good rental here as well.
Overall I think fans are generally pleased with two of the trades, the Schultz deal being the most controversial. But I think Fletch has molded this team closer to his plan and away from his predecessor.
I am probably the playoff-optimist of the Wild blogosphere, but even if they don't get in, it should still be exciting down the stretch, as we get a better glimpse of the contending team we've been promised for the last few seasons.