Sometimes, despite teams being rivals, trades can still occur between the two organizations. Looking at the Minnesota Wild, that might be the case with their rival Winnipeg Jets.
Now, the trade deadline is still a few weeks away, but it does look clear like the Wild will be buyers at this year’s trade deadline. As for the Jets, they currently sit just six points out of a playoff spot, but so do a handful of teams in the Western Conference.
If the Jets lose a few upcoming games, the focus might start shifting to next season, and they could become sneaky buyers at the deadline. If that’s the case, there could be some players that the Wild might be interested in acquiring.
He might not put up the numbers he once did, but Paul Stastny is still a solid option for a middle-six centre, and the Wild could use one. Currently, on the season, he has 15 goals and 12 assists in 45 games played.
Right now, between Kevin Fiala and Matthew Boldy, who have found some great chemistry, is Frederick Gaudreau. He has just eight goals and 16 assists in 48 games this season, which is by no means terrible, but a more potent offensive player might enhance that line to be even more dominant.
Stastny likes being in the Winnipeg area, and after playing just 19 games with the Jets in 2018, he returned in 2020 when the Vegas Golden Knights needed to shed some salary cap (from ‘Jets Acquire Paul Stastny for 2022 Conditional Fourth-Round Pick, Carl Dahlstrom,’ Winnipeg Sun, Oct 9, 2020) . Minnesota, while South of the border, is the closest franchise geographically to Winnipeg.
He signed a one-year contract with the Jets for the 2021-22 season, but with the Jets possibly about to miss the playoffs, he could have some slight interest in moving not far south of the border to join a contender. His expiring contract could also appeal to the Wild, who will need all the cap space possible moving forward.
Stastny has spent much of his time with the Jets playing with fast, highly skilled players like Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor. He shouldn’t have too much of a problem keeping up with possibly Fiala, Boldy, or even Kirill Kaprizov if head coach Dean Evason wanted to test out that pairing.
There are a lot of similarities between Andrew Copp and Paul Stastny. Both have experience playing on a skilled Jets team, both can produce well offensively, and both would be rentals on expiring contracts.
Copp, however, might bring a bit of a different element to the Wild’s lineup. He is a little more physical on the ice than Stastny is, willing to sacrifice his body to hit opposing players and blocking shots. Add that with an ability to produce offensively with 32 points on the season already, and you have a desired player by many teams.
He’s also much younger, as the Jets might feel more pressure in guaranteeing a return on a 27 (soon 28) year-old Copp than they would for a 36-year-old Stastny.
If the Jets fall further away from a playoff spot, a conversation will likely happen between Copp and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff about his future in Winnipeg. If there isn’t a firm belief he can be extended, it might be in the organization’s best interest to get some type of return for him at the deadline.
If they were to acquire him, the Wild would have a forward group with Copp, Jordan Greenway, and Marcus Foligno. That, on the surface, already sounds like a nightmare for opposing teams to deal with for a four-to-seven game series.
The old saying is that teams can never have enough defensemen heading into the playoffs on their roster. Time and time again, that has often proved to be the case, and Nathan Beaulieu could be a very effective depth acquisition by the Wild.
Beaulieu likely won’t make the team’s top six on defence when fully healthy. However, he and Jordie Benn could become the Wild’s seventh and eighth defencemen heading into the playoffs, which would likely be more reliable than most team’s spare defencemen.
It also lowers the likelihood of the Wild having to throw youngster Calen Addison onto their blue line in the playoffs, who at this point only has 16 regular-season games of experience under his belt.
At 6’2″ and over 200 lbs, he’s the definition of a big, strong depth defender teams love to have in case of injuries and likely won’t cost as much as the Stastny or Copp. Beaulieu could be some solid insurance for the Wild heading into the playoffs for maybe just a mid-round pick.
There are still a few weeks before the Trade Deadline, and it’s always possible that the Jets simply refuse to help one of their biggest rivals via trade.
However, if these two organizations aren’t against dealing with each other, Stastny, Copp, or Beaulieu could be of massive help to the Wild come spring.
Sports writer covering the Minnesota Wild. Graduated with a degree in sport media, also working with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.