It also doesn’t help that discussion around some possible moves is already happening and the team is clearly desperate to improve the area where they need the most help: Scoring some damn goals and making some damn plays. The forward group has been hurt by injuries, but even when completely healthy, they are still a far cry from having the talent to push themselves far into the playoffs. Having the resurgence of some names like Ryan Hartman and Frederick Gaudreau — creating diamonds out of rough, jagged, free agent stones — is nice and all, but it is not the consistent firepower that most teams need to have success.
Of course, we would love it if Big Bill Guerin just suddenly went all-in on some big star forward that can bring the team out of this funk, but that is not really realistic. Does Brock Boeser want to come home? Is William Nylander sick of Toronto? Maybe, just maybe, the Arizona Coyotes just want to get rid of Clayton Keller for some reason. These are the far-fetched ideas that we want to come true, but what about some more realistic options that we can fully believe could help the Wild’s top-six forward group?
Alex Kerfoot, Maple Leafs
Kerfoot has seemingly had one foot out of the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ door for a little bit now. He is the fans’ scapegoat for all of the team’s current problems, since he is pretty expensive with a $3.5-million cap hit and doesn’t put up insane numbers that compare to the team’s stars.
But, he is an unrestricted free agent this summer and now might be the time for some other team to pounce on the Leafs’ instability and secure a decent player that can be on the center or left wing. After all, even while playing depth minutes in Toronto, Kerfoot still scored 13 goals and 51 points in 82 games last season. He doesn’t really get injured (oh, that would be nice) and has versatility throughout all situations and positionally.
What would it cost though? It might not make sense for the Leafs to part ways with someone who is currently playing with John Tavares and William Nylander, but what if it means getting a bunch of the offensive depth that they want? The Leafs have trouble scoring when either Tavares or Austin Matthews isn’t on the ice. Would Toronto want some bottom-six forwards that are an improvement on their current crop, like Connor Dewar, or Frederick Gaudreau? Maybe they want someone with a little bit more potential and you can swap Adam Beckman for the pricey Kerfoot.
Either way, this seems like a possibility and could help both teams.
Jack Roslović, Blue Jackets
the Columbus Blue Jackets were so full of hope after they signed Johnny Gaudreau and graduated some high-end prospects to the NHL; but unfortunately, they still suck and are sitting near the bottom of the league. And with center Jack Roslovic being in and out of the lineup, averaging just over 16 minutes on a still-bad team, the writing is on the wall that the 24-year-old forward might be moved at some point this season.
Roslovic is still under contract next season, and will be an unrestricted free agent after that, but comes at a decently high $4-million cap hit. While that is fine for a second-line center on most teams, if a player that is sometimes healthy scratched is costing the team that much, it hurts significantly more. The Wild have been known to let players like Roslovic flourish in their organization and he seems like the easiest option this year to do so.
The Columbus, Ohio native has just six points in 15 games this season, but managed to score 22 goals and 45 points last year and 34 points in just 48 games the season prior. Plus, he’s winning 51.6 percent of his faceoffs this season, something head coach Dean Evason might love.
When it comes to what might have to go to Columbus from Minnesota, that is certainly a mystery since the Blue Jackets are still rebuilding. Could it be as simple as an upcoming draft pick or very young prospect? If they attach a mid-round pick to Brandon Duhaime, does that work? There’s no reason to speculate on the actual details of a trade, but we’ll still speculate on interest.
There’s still hidden potential somewhere in Roslovic and maybe a move to St. Paul can be beneficial.
Conor Sheary, Capitals
This is not as exciting as getting a young center that could reach new heights on the Wild. Conor Sheary is a proven commodity and the Washington Capitals suck a lot right now. At 30 years old, he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season — so no commitment if he ends up not playing so well — and he will most likely be out of town if Washington keeps on losing.
If this move happens, this most likely is a trade done closer to the March 1 trade deadline, when both teams have better ideas of what their respective seasons are going to be, but this can certainly work. Sheary is making just $1.5 million and can still produce fairly well. In 71 games last season, Sheary scored 19 goals and 43 points. This season, he has seven goals and 10 points in 20 games. It’s not mind-blowing numbers but just steady production from a player that can chip-in offensively. Is he a better option than Duhaime offensively? Yeah, most likely. But will whatever player and/or pick be worth the upgrade? Who the hell knows.
We just love to speculate about trades, don’t we?