Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thoughts On The Pominville Trade

Yes, this is a second post on this topic.

But, the first post purely focused on what the Wild are getting when they acquired Jason Pominville today. This post is a much different story.

In exchange for RW Jason Pominville and Buffalo's 2014 4th round pick, the Wild sent C Johan Larsson, G Matt Hackett, a 2013 1st round pick, and a 2014 2nd round pick on to Buffalo.

Being positive here, the Wild got a great two way forward, with tremendous offensive skills. He adds a lively right handed shot to the top power play. He will strengthen an already stellar penalty kill. His work ethic is outstanding (The top line of Parise-Koivu-Pominville will be one of the hardest working lines in hockey). With him in the mix, the Wild have become a powerhouse alongside Chicago and Anaheim in the Western Conference.

Then on the negative side, the price for Pominville was tremendously steep. Too steep for my liking. But, Chuck Fletcher and his staff believe in the team they have right now, and they met that steep price to get Pominville. Had it been a couple of second round picks, fine. Sending that first round pick coupled with Larsson and Hackett (Two of the Wild's top ten prospects), just flat bothers me. Even if Pominville is here for the remainder of this year and all of next year. But as Fletcher said today, "Anytime you want a good player who's not a rental, you're going to have to pay a price."

I guess at this point, I'm indifferent on this trade. I thought the Wild needed to add a defenseman more than a forward today (See the performance of Clayton Stoner, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, and Tom Gilbert lately). They got Pominville, and gave up some big prospects to get him. But it was pointed out to me by a friend today that both players had really not impacted the team this year, nor had they proven themselves in the NHL yet, keeping the "prospect' label on them.

If this team can go far in the playoffs both seasons with Pominville, great. This trade will probably be considered a success then. But that's all IF they can make some deep postseason runs.

A few other thoughts I had following the trade:

  • With Pominville on the books at $5.3 million for next year, it all but assures that Dany Heatley will be bought out (Using one of the team's amnesty buyouts), or traded this summer. Heatley carries a $7.5 million cap hit, and his play this season has not justified having him return with that kind of cap hit (Reminder, the cap next year is $64.3 million and the Wild have $55.9 million committed to 16 players, including Pominville and Heatley). 
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard is almost as good as gone following the season too. I was kind of surprised to see the Wild hang on to him today.
  • Now that Matt Hackett has been traded, it would seem that the Wild will be for sure getting Niklas Backstrom back next year. Backstrom is in the final year of his contract and is a UFA this summer. Had they let him go, the tandem of Harding/Kuemper would man the nets for Minnesota next year. And who knows when Josh Harding will play again (Sorry, had to say it).

We will just have to wait and see how this all plays out. And it starts tomorrow in Los Angeles.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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