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Is Minnesota a top team?

After an off-season of spending and upgrading, the Wild are off to a 4-2-1 start to the season. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

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After an off-season of spending and upgrading, the Wild are off to a 4-2-1 start to the season. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hello there. This is the THN mailbag and I am your mailbag-answerer. You send me questions and I deal with a selection of them. This process is non-negotiable. Thanks as always for your submissions.

Hi Adam. Do you think that the Ducks would be better off if Ryan Getzlaf was traded? I think that trading him for an offense-minded, right-handed D-man would give the Ducks a lot on five-on-five since they a good right-handed d-man. Sami Vatanen is quite good offensively, but he might not prove to be good enough for the NHL.

But to get a good offensive dynamo (think Erik Karlsson) could give their offense and defense a real boost. For example if Toronto, in their need of a number one center would be willing to trade Nazem Kadri and their number one pick, given that it is a low one, Ducks could trade for Seth Jones, or if it's a lower pick, Ryan Pulock. Seth Jones and Cam Fowler at the point with Perry, Ryan and Kadri, or with really good luck Barkov or Mackinnon at center, they would have a really good first line.
Miika Haapalainen, Oulu, Finland


Hi Miika,

I’m not sure that trading away a highly valued and experienced first-line center such as Getzlaf is a great idea. Now, with Getzlaf and Perry both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents, the Ducks may have no choice but to deal one or both away by the April 3 trade deadline. But, depending on the way Anaheim plays in the next eight weeks – and depending on negotiations that could heat up quickly in that span of time – the Ducks could just as easily re-sign both their big stars and never let it get to that point.

However, if they do trade Getzlaf and/or Perry, the return they would get could well be significant, but it all depends on the number of suitors and the willingness of those players to sign a long-term deal with any particular franchise. There are so many elements that factor into any deal, it’s virtually impossible to predict what could happen.

But I will say the Leafs aren’t likely to trade their No. 1 pick, especially if they’re in position to draft Jones or MacKinnon. As well, you have to remember that Fowler represents exactly the type of offense-minded blueliner you were asking for. He’s still got some developing to do, but there’s no sense creating a massive hole in your roster to double up on an area in which you’ve already got some real quality.

Hey Adam! I noticed that some players like Ryan Kesler have records for playing 80 games in multiple seasons in a row. Since there are only 48 games this season, will that mess up their record?
Maya Smith, Calgary


Hi Maya!

First of all, Kesler’s injury would have ended any games-played streak regardless of whether or not there was a lockout this season. But remember, this is a league that lost an entire year to labor strife; that fact doesn’t derail records, but it does mean you have to talk about them a little differently. For example, when it comes to ironman streaks, the discussion becomes “played in all available games” (or something like that) instead of consecutive 82-game seasons. It’s all in the phrasing, but trust me, most players don’t concern themselves with any of that stuff.

Adam, if Brian Burke knew the Toronto Maple Leafs were not a playoff-bound team and he was in risk of getting fired, how come he didn’t go after any big names on July 1st in the NHL free agent frenzy? And if he knew his goaltending was weak, how come he didn’t go after Roberto Luongo or another big name goaltender?
Mark Saville, Minden Ont.


Mark,

Firstly, if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that Burke expected this edition of the Leafs to contend for the playoffs. He stated that every season he was in Toronto and this year would have been no different. But he would have been wrong to make panicky, desperate trades or signings just to push the Leafs into the eighth seed and said as much on multiple occasions.

We’re still unsure the exact reasons Burke was fired, but he and his management team, most of which is still intact in Toronto, are well aware of the need to build for the long term. You don’t do that by dealing away youth and draft picks or throwing salary cap space away on past-their-prime veterans. The immediate future of the Leafs remains murky, but if this franchise has learned its lesson about quick fixes, that’s a much better thing than any trade for experience.

Hi Adam,

I am a HUGE MINNESOTA WILD FAN! I wanted to ask you, seeing as the Wild were number one in the league 30 games in last year, with the shortened season upon us do you think that the Wild (with the additions they have made) have a legitimate chance to be number one in the NHL again, and make a push in the playoffs?
Darren Halfen, Stillwater, Minn.


Hi Darren,

The Wild shocked the league for a short spell last season – a credit to head coach Mike Yeo – but reality soon set in. Despite the fact Minnesota was the big winner in the off-season by signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, I think hoping or expecting them to challenge for the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top team is a little much. Not just because of their changes, but because of the intense competition in (a) the Western Conference and (b) their own division. And there's another factor also at play.

In a shortened season, I think the teams that have more familiarity with each other are going to perform better, at least at first. Indeed, if you look at many of the teams that got a good start in the standings – Chicago and San Jose in the West, Boston in the East – you’ll recognize they have most of the same players they did last season.

The Wild, meanwhile, have to figure out how to assimilate a number of new faces and that takes time. So, while I do expect them to make the playoffs, I think they’ll need a couple of years together before they rise to the very top of the league.

Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.

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