On the face of it, the Minnesota Wild are a team set for a deep run this postseason.
With a young, talented defensive corps and a strong, well balanced forward group that contains several genuine game-breakers like Thomas Vanek, they look like a team who would be ideally suited to add a rental piece to push them over the top in the postseason.
However, according to many commentators they still need something more in the forward group to put them over the top, and rumbles out of the State of Hockey increasingly have them interested in Loui Eriksson as the player to provide it.
Rob Vollman of ESPN NHL argues in this ESPN Insider article (paywall link) that Minnesota and Boston are the perfect trade partners, in as much as the Wild need a key contributor at forward and the Bruins desperately need a defenseman with top-4 potential...the kind of asset that the Wild have in abundance.
Indeed, there's so much good defensive depth in Minnesota that Hockey Wilderness went through the pros-and-cons of trading each and every one late last year-especially .
On the face of it, then, there could be a deal to be made here. But it would need the Bruins to come in hard-nosed and negotiating strongly. Let's look at the possible names they could demand.
This would be the gold standard name for Bruins in any Loui Eriksson trade. Brodin has already shown himself to be a minute-munching stud who at 22 is only going to get better. There is no question that he's going to get himself one hell of a pay-day if he continues playing like he has been...but crucially, that payday won't be for the next five years. He's also a beast in his own zone, which is frankly something the Bruins are crying out for.
A young stud with term and the potential to get better still? SIGN US UP.
The trouble is, the very thing that makes Brodin so attractive is also going to make him...expensive to many other teams-especially as the Wild have prospects to burn if he goes. Probably too rich for Boston's blood this deadline.
Minnesota aren't going to trade their number one defenseman. The only way a team decides to trade a 25-year-old who's already locked in the spot at the top of the defensive depth chart, even with RFA status, is if they've already decided they're not going to re-sign him. Only a stupid GM would do that.
Unfortunately for the Bruins and indeed every other team...the Wild do not have a stupid GM.
Couple that with the fact Spurgeon is going to get PAID this offseason, and he's another who's probably too rich for Bruins' blood. Although you can't blame them for at least throwing his name out there in any Eriksson discussions.
Count him out.
See Jared Spurgeon, only with better scoring, slightly more size and the fact he's signed for four more years at only $4 million a year.
Nah. This isn't happening. Not unless the Bruins throw an offer together that absolutely blows the Wild away. He's probably fetching even more than Spurgeon, assuming the Wild are stupid enough to even consider moving him this deadline.
So that leaves us with one player. The player the Bruins should now be aggressively pursuing if there's to be any conversation over Loui Eriksson at all.
This. This could be the perfect match.
The former Red Deer Rebel is 21, he's a former top-10 pick, and he's a player who will likely not be asking for a huge raise this off season even as an RFA, following some inconsistency over his first few NHL seasons.
But he is fast, strong and incredibly skilled offensively with time to grow into his defensive game...and what better player to teach him than Zdeno Chara on the Bruins' top pairing the next year or two?
The Calgarian is the kind of player the Bruins crowd loves. He's fearless, willing to rush forward offensively and make things happen at both ends. He has 9 goals and 11 assists (leading all Wild blueliners in points) while also improving strongly going the other way. Sure, there are a few rough edges, but then again, the talent and potential in Dumba is HUGE.
If Boston are going to pursue a Loui Eriksson trade, then they should be making a call to Minny - and they should be shooting for the moon in terms of response.
Matt Dumba is a golden apple of a trade prospect, and with Loui Eriksson and the situation in Minnesota the Bruins have a strong chance to acquire him.
They should be asking the question of the Wild. Loudly.