One month ago the Minnesota Wild were riding high, things were going great. They were on top of the Western Conference, the Houston call-ups were all producing and Mike Yeo looked like a genius. Fast-forward to today, the team is struggling badly, the rookies look over matched and their captain is out for at least a month. What should be done?
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is at a crossroads here. He can make some moves to help the Wild maintain their playoff spot or he can be patient. The easy thing to do would be to trade some of their young players and prospects for quick fixes. Deal Charlie Coyle and Josh Harding for Zach Parise, or how about Marco Scandella for Ryan Malone? If the Wild made a few moves they'd have a good shot to make the playoffs this season and the fan base would be happy.
But I wouldn't do that. This team is built for the future, not for the present. Sure, they played out of their skulls good hockey in November, but that was an anomaly. This team as it's presently constructed isn't a top-tier team. This squad's brightest days are ahead with such players as Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Johan Larsson and the aforementioned Coyle. Scandella will come back from Houston and be a better player.
Two seasons from now this team will be a Cup-contending team with the current roster plus the prospects coming of age. Why trade one or more of them now so the team can get into the playoffs as an 8 seed? I'm not saying Granlund is as talented as Evgeni Malkin, but can you imagine if the Penguins had dealt the rights to #71 just to make the playoffs before Sidney Crosby arrived?
Patience is hard here, especially with our recent playoff drought. But listen to me now and believe me later when I say this team will reach a Cup Final within 3 years if they don't trade any of their top young guns.