The Minnesota Wild finally picked up their first win of the season on Monday. Yet, they immediately followed that up with a loss on Tuesday and are on their way to another loss tonight. The Wild will likely head home from their Canadian road trip with a 1-6-0 record on the year and their only points coming against the Ottawa Senators. Combine that with last season’s “big” trade acquisitions of Kevin Fiala, Ryan Donato, and Victor Rask all having been healthy scratches at least once and free agent centerpiece Mats Zuccarello being held scoreless through four games prior to an injury, and it is easy to see why the situation in Minnesota this season is already so bleak. Thus, it should come as little surprise that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in his “31 Thoughts” column that Minnesota will “listen on everything.” New GM Bill Guerin is likely eager to make his mark on the team and hopeful that he can right the wrongs of his much-maligned predecessor, Paul Fenton. As one might expect from the level-headed Guerin, Friedman writes that he is not willing to rush into anything just for the sake of making a move, despite such a poor start. However, should the opportunity present itself to make a move that he feels is right for the team, Guerin won’t be afraid to pull the trigger and shake things up. Friedman feels that team’s biggest need is to add right-handed forwards. Currently, the team has just two: Ryan Hartman and Luke Kunin. If one exists on the trade market, a young, natural right wing or righty center could be a good long-term investment for Minnesota. However, the Wild are likely to be in more of a seller mode than buyer in the immediate future. Much of their roster is signed long-term, but Jonas Brodin, Eric Staal, Marcus Foligno, and perhaps even captain Mikko Koivu, an impending free agent, could be on the block.
- The Carolina Hurricanes hoped to land an NHL forward when they traded away defenseman Justin Faulk, but a potential deal with the Anaheim Ducks that would have brought Ondrej Kase to Raleigh fell through and the team settled for defenseman Joel Edmundson and promising, but raw forward prospect Dominik Bokk. Now, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the search for a top-nine forward continues for Carolina, despite their red-hot start. Neither of the two names mentioned by LeBrun as players that the ‘Canes have kicked the tires on should come as any surprise. The first is disgruntled young Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi, who is currently playing overseas. This matches up with a recent report that the Oilers continue to pursue NHL-ready Carolina prospect Julien Gauthier, but turned down a one-for-one offer for Puljujarvi this summer. With both Edmonton and Carolina playing well and wanting immediate help, it could be that the trade now makes more sense for both sides. The second player named is Joshua Ho-Sang, another frustrated young forward who is currently sitting at home waiting to be traded by the New York Islanders, who instructed him not to report to the AHL after he failed to make the team. Both Puljujarvi and Ho-Sang are behavioral question marks, but bring both upside and roster flexibility should reigning GM of the Year candidate Don Waddell decide to make a deal.
- LeBrun also reports that Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is likely no longer on the trade block. While at one point both sides had agreed that a change of scenery was a good idea, the Sabres are off to a strong start this season and Ristolainen recently spoke about how much he is enjoying playing for new head coach Ralph Kreuger and his happiness with being in Buffalo. LeBrun doubts that the team wants to upset their early momentum, while noting that trade talks this summer did not bear any fruit anyway. Ristolainen can still be a key contributor for the team and they seem content to maintain the status quo so long as they continue to accumulate points.