The Minnesota Wild have been one of the league’s worst clubs since the beginning of January, but GM Chuck Fletcher isn’t panicking, not even in the face of losing defenseman Jonas Brodin for 3-6 weeks.
As bad as the Montreal Canadiens have been since the holiday break, the Minnesota Wild haven’t been far behind. Over their past 18 games, Minnesota is 5-10-3, have had one of the league’s worst offenses and things aren’t getting any better.
Saturday afternoon, the Wild announced defenseman Jonas Brodin will be out three-to-six weeks with a broken foot. Brodin’s injury occurred Thursday in a contest against the New York Rangers when he blocked a shot, and, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, was seen limping post-game. Brodin was placed on injured reserve.
Losing Brodin doesn’t just hurt the Wild on-ice, though, as his name has been at the center of several trade rumors over the past few weeks. Minnesota has a plethora of talented defensemen, but have been lacking scoring punch for most of the season leading many to believe a young blueliner could be dealt to acquire some offensive talent.
Brodin is a good young trade chip, too. The 22-year-old blueliner has been a steady second-pairing defenseman and has the ability to move the puck up ice. Drafted 10th overall by the Wild in 2011, Brodin is in his fourth season with the Wild. The offensive upside to his game may not be quite where expected yet — he has one goal and six points in 50 games this season — but Brodin could still come into his own.
However, if the Wild are going to make a deal, GM Chuck Fletcher said it’s going to be one that improves his team and not simply a trade for the sake of shaking up his roster.
“You can’t just sit around and wait for something to come in and bail you out,” Fletcher told Russo. “We have to get back to playing the right way. It doesn’t matter who we add at this point: If we don’t start playing the right way, one player is not going to make a difference. We need the group to be better, we need to play the way we’re capable of playing, and to the identity that we normally play to.”
Because of the slide the Wild are in, some have questioned whether or not coach Mike Yeo could be shown the door. That doesn’t appear to be a possibility, though, as Fletcher told Russo in no uncertain terms that Yeo’s job was safe. Fletcher said he’s unhappy with the play of most of his players, but said the team is “capable of being a lot better than what we are right now.”
“Look, we’re going to turn this around, that’s where our focus is right now,” Fletcher told Russo. “This group, the coaches and players have won a lot of games, they know what it takes, and I’m looking to our leadership group right now to step up and I’m looking for the players to play the right way and I’m confident that we’ll get there.”