The Minnesota Wild bulked up for the stretch run Saturday, acquiring forward Nicolas Deslauriers from the Anaheim Ducks for a third-round draft pick in 2023.
Deslauriers is known mostly as a top enforcer, and he’s among the NHL leaders in penalty minutes with 90 after piling up 17 in a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday. The Wild, sitting third in the Central Division, added the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder with an eye on what’s sure to be a rough-and-tumble Western Conference playoffs, with a potential first-round matchup against the St. Louis Blues or Nashville Predators looming.
Deslauriers, however, can also kill penalties in addition to providing physical depth. He could slide easily onto the Wild’s fourth line, adding another big body to a bottom-six forward group that includes Jordan Greenway, Nick Foligno, Joel Eriksson Ek and Brandon Duhaime. With 210 hits on the season for an average of more than three per game, he fits well into Minnesota’s grinding style and gives the Wild more size to counter that of the Blues, Predators or Calgary Flames in the postseason.
Related: Ducks Trade Defenseman Josh Manson to Colorado Avalanche
The pending unrestricted free agent has five goals and five assists on the season, and 41 goals and 41 assists in a nine-year NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens and Ducks, whom he joined before the 2019-20 season.
The 31-year-old Deslauriers is completing a two-year, $2 million contract and is the latest piece to be sold off by the rebuilding Ducks, who also traded defenseman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and defender Hampus Lindholm to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. More could be coming from Anaheim, which is undoubtedly also fielding offers for winger Rickard Rakell, another pending UFA who’s drawn interest around the league.