The Wild have played only 11 games, but it appears new general manager Bill Guerin already is looking to play let’s make a deal.
Forwards Kevin Fiala, Ryan Donato and Joel Eriksson Ek are on the market, according to the Ottawa Sun.
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The Wild beat the Los Angeles Kings, 5-1, on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center, giving them their third consecutive victory on home ice, but Minnesota is 4-7 and started the season 1-6. The Wild lack offensive firepower and are a minus-11 in goal differential. Guerin, like many, already might have seen enough to know he has a roster that is nowhere near competing for a Stanley Cup and thus could be looking to immediately hit the reset button.
Guerin was hired after Paul Fenton was dismissed in late July following one season and it should come as no surprise that Guerin could be looking to move two players that Fenton acquired last season as he worked to give the Wild roster a makeover.
The 23-year-old Fiala was acquired on Feb. 25 from Nashville — where Fenton had been the longtime assistant GM — for winger Mikael Granlund. Fiala has one assist and is a minus-4 in seven games and has missed the past three because of a lower-body injury. Fenton expected great things from Fiala and paid a high price believing the winger could return to the 23-goal form he showed in 2017-18.
Donato, 23, came to the Wild in a Feb. 20 trade that sent Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. Donato had four goals and 12 assists in 22 games with the Wild but had only one assist in his last seven games of 2018-19. The Wild tried Donato at center in training camp before moving him back to wing and so far he has disappointed. He was on the fourth line on Saturday and contributed an assist but has only two assists in 10 games.
Eriksson Ek, 22, scored his first goal of the season on Saturday after returning from a three-game absence caused by an injury suffered when he blocked multiple shots by Montreal’s hard-shooting defenseman Shea Weber. The 20th-overall pick in the first round of the 2015 draft by former Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, Eriksson Ek centered the second line on Saturday and now has one goal and one assist in eight games. Eriksson Ek had only seven goals and seven assists in 58 games last season.
It will be interesting to see if Guerin ties to move some of the younger players now and then goes to work on dealing veterans (at least the ones he can move) as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches.