The trade deadline has come to an end, but the Minnesota Wild did pretty well considering GM Chuck Fletcher wasn’t expected to make any big moves. This afternoon the Wild acquired Jordan Leopold from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Chris Stewart from the Buffalo Sabres.
Leopold, a 6’1″ defenseman, was sent to Minnesota in exchange for Justin Falk and a fifth-round draft pick. For the Wild, who are in need of another solid defenceman now that Marco Scandella is injured, this is a good move by Fletcher. He might not solve any problems in the long-run, but Leopold will help fill the gap temporarily left by Spurgeon and Scandella. Minnesota needs a little extra depth if they’re going to make a run in the playoffs.
Leopold, a native of Golden Valley, Minnesota, played at the University of Minnesota from 1998 to 2002. As a Golden Gopher, Leopold helped push the Gophers to NCAA National Championship win. He was also the winner of the Hobey Baker Award in his last year of collegiate hockey.
Since being drafted, Leopold has played for seven NHL teams, (Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Buffalo, St. Louis) and has racked up 677 games, 67 goals and 213 points.
Aside from stats and former teams, Leopold was reportedly traded after his 11-year-old daughter, Jordyn, wrote a letter asking for her father to come to Minnesota:
It isn’t always just about business… pic.twitter.com/uVDV3K2Nky””
— Jarmo Kekalainen (@jkekalainen) March 2, 2015
If that doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what will.
Chris Stewart’s trade story isn’t as heartwarming as Leopold’s, but the former Buffalo Sabre is apparently excited to be with the Wild:
“I’m excited I’ll get a chance to play in the playoffs. I had a rough start of the year, and I thought the last 30 games I definitely turned my game around.” – Chris Stewart from Michael Russo of the StarTribune.
Stewart, a 27-year-old forward from Toronto, Ontario, was dealt to Minnesota in exchange for a second-round pick in 2017. Stewart, who will be a free agent after this year, can provide another option for the Wild up-front. On top of that, Minnesota got a forward at a bargain – the Sabres will be paying half of the $465,000 still owed to Stewart.
Quite honestly, I think Minnesota’s lineup has done better than anyone could ask for. I don’t exactly see how coach Mike Yeo is going to rearrange things, but extra depth is never a bad thing, especially going into this final stretch. I guess I’m just a fan of the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” style of hockey, but tinkering never hurts.
Stewart has previously played for the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Buffalo Sabres. The 6’2″ 228-pound right-wing has played in a total of 443 NHL games, tallying 126 goals and 127 assists over that time.
The Wild play tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators, so maybe we’ll get to see some new faces in the lineup.
What are your thoughts on the trades? Should the Wild have done more?
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23