Alli Baker The Hockey Writers
Minnesota Wild Trade Deadline Report Card: One Week Later
Today marks a week from the NHL trade deadline. Last Monday, the Minnesota Wild acquired Jordan Leopold and Chris Stewart, as well as Jared Knight, who is currently playing with the Iowa Wild. We’ll also include Sean Bergenheim in this list, because he was technically picked up before the deadline.
Now that we’ve had a couple of games to watch Leopold, Stewart and Bergenheim, I think it’s time to give these three a “trade deadline grade.” I know a week or so isn’t a lot of time to evaluate how well a guy plays, so consider this a preliminary grade, if you will.
Or should I say Jordyn Leopold. Leopold’s daughter, Jordyn, has really been the big story here. Her letter to the Minnesota Wild coaches asking for them to trade for her father has taken the Internet, and the hockey community, by storm.
Her father, however, hasn’t been as big of news, but he has added some depth to the Wild’s defense, which they needed. In four games with Minnesota, Leopold is a -2 with zero points, although he has had a fair
amount of time on the ice.
Leopold hasn’t made a huge difference for the Wild one way or another so far. Of course, it has only been a week since he was traded, but for now, I’ll give him a B. Nothing extraordinary yet, but nothing terrible either. Plus this team seems to lose a defenceman every other game, so having some depth is never a bad thing.
So far, Stewart is looking like he’s going to be another steal by Chuck Fletcher. Stewart was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for a bargain price, and he has made his presence known ever since he arrived. In four games, Stewart has one goal, one assist, and 5 PIM.
Stewart looks like he’s the physical force the Wild have been lacking, but he can bring more than grit. The former Buffalo Sabre has already shown he has offensive potential. Not to mention, he’s a free agent at the end of this season, meaning he’s going to be extra motivated to prove he belongs in the NHL and deserves a contract.
With all this in mind, Chris Stewart gets an A-. He’s already had a positive impact on this team – toughness is a thing Minnesota was without, and Stewart has brought that, along with big potential for a small price tag.
Bergenheim, who was picked up from the Florida Panthers, has had a few more games to show us what he’s working with. The veteran forward is a -3 with no points thus far, but to his defense, he hadn’t played much before being snagged by the Wild.
It might not show in his stats, but Bergenheim has the ability to make plays and move the puck. He’s been put into a top-6 role for a reason. Coach Mike Yeo clearly sees some potential in the former Panther if he’s putting him out there with Vanek and Koivu.
Taking his lack of playing, a new system and that he’s really just been thrown into the lineup into consideration, I think Bergenheim is deserving of a B. He’s kind of like the Jordan Leopold – nothing outstanding, but he hasn’t negatively affected the team in any way. He provides veteran experience and depth, and I’m sure once he gets more comfortable on the ice, he’ll have a lot to bring to Minnesota.
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