Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher was pretty clear during his exit interview with the media last week that he doesn't plan on being a big spender in free agency this summer. That's bad news for Wild fans hoping Minnesota adds a pure goal scorer this off-season.
Scoring goals was a major issue for the Wild in the second round of the playoffs as they were outgunned and outscored 13-7 by the Chicago Blackhawks in a four-game sweep; they scored just one goal in Games 2 and 3 combined.
One idea to improve to their firepower comes from the Edmonton Journal: trade young defenseman Jared Spurgeon to the Oilers for former No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov.
"Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who needs a young scorer with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville coming up dry in the playoffs, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, who needs a defenceman who can eat up minutes, should be on the phone to each other.
Chiarelli, who has never had trouble with small defencemen (see Torey Krug and Brad Marchand in Boston), should be making a strong pitch for Tyler Ennis’s best buddy Jared Spurgeon, a solid No. 3 National Hockey League defenceman with strong possession numbers.
And Fletcher should be asking about winger Nail Yakupov because Chiarelli may not be married to the young Oilers as former GM Craig MacTavish was."
Spurgeon, 25, is one of the best "small" defenseman in the NHL, the Journal notes, and he'll be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2016. Wild Xtra looked at the idea of trading Spurgeon and noted that even Wild beat writer Michael Russo has said the "writing is on the wall" for Spurgeon, that this year or next will be his last in Minnesota.
Yakupov has yet to produce like a No. 1 overall pick (which he was in 2012), but he's only 21 years old and he might have found some consistency late this season. An April blog in the Journal notes that Yakupov scored 21 points in the final 31 games.
With concerns about the production the likes of Mikko Koivu, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville brought to the Wild in the playoffs, a young, speedy, hard-shot center like Yakupov is an interesting trade idea.