The Minnesota Wild made a big splash before the trade deadline on Wednesday, acquiring Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville for two draft picks and two prospects. After rocking the league with their summer signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild were back at it again, and have clearly pushed all their chips to the center of the table in an effort to go deep in the playoffs this season. Considering the Wild were holding on to third or fourth place in the standings before the trade for Pominville, it seems at first glance that the deal to get the veteran winger came at a very high cost.
To get Pominville, the Wild sent the Sabres their first round pick in this summer’s draft, as well as a second-round pick in 2014. They also traded away prospects Johan Larsson and Matt Hackett, while getting the Sabres’ 2014 fourth-round pick. Given the current goaltending situation that has Niklas Backstrom starting almost every game while the return of Josh Harding is uncertain, shipping Hackett away was a bit of a surprise. The young netminder looked capable of playing at the NHL level in a handful of starts last season, but was perhaps made expendable by the play of Darcy Kuemper earlier this season. The Wild quietly sent “future considerations” to the Anaheim Ducks for goaltender Jeff Deslauriers on Wednesday, which is an upgrade over Hackett or Kuemper in experience only.
Larsson played in one game for the Wild this season and had 15 goals and 37 points for the Houston Aeros of the AHL. This is his first season in North America after being a second-round pick in 2010.
Pominville is under contract for next season as well, but has a $5.3 million cap hit. That puts the Wild just barely under the cap, and they have Backstrom, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Matt Cullen set to be free agents at the end of the season. Pominville, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi are the big name unrestricted free agents at the end of next season, so while the Wild did what they needed to in order to win now, they also need to hope they din’t mortgage their future in order to do it.