In the first half of the regular season, the Minnesota Wild looked like a legit Stanley Cup contender, but they faded quickly down the stretch.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher tried to get his team back on the rails by making a splash on deadline day, so he landed Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth-round pick from Arizona for a first-round pick in 2017, a second-round pick in 2018, a conditional pick in 2019 and Grayson Downing.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, the deal didn’t exactly give them the shot in the arm they were hoping for, as they were bounced in the opening round of the playoffs by Jake Allen and the St. Louis Blues.
Looking back, owner Craig Leopold wishes his team hadn’t given up all those picks for Hanzal, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
“In hindsight, geez, I wish we wouldn’t have done that,” said Leipold, per the Minneapolis Tribune. “I supported that decision at the time, and I’m willing to live with it.”
Hanzal was far from terrible after joining the Wild (four goals, 13 points, 15:31 of average ice time in 20 games), but he just didn’t make a big enough impact to warrant giving up all those draft picks.
Those picks could have really come in handy right now. They could’ve used them to strike a deal with Vegas to make sure a player like Nino Niederreiter or Matt Dumba doesn’t get taken in the expansion draft, or they could have used them to entice another team to take an expensive contract with a no-move clause off their hands (i.e. Jason Pominville).
It’ll be interesting to see what Fletcher is able to pull this summer.