Calen Addison Scratched Again as Trade Deadline Looms, Rumors Swirl

Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn - NHLI via Getty Images

Entering the 2022-23 NHL season, Calen Addison was viewed as a future staple on the top-4 of the Minnesota Wild’s roster. But 56 games in, and with the trade deadline looming on March 3, the conversation has been turned upside down.

The Wild will play at home vs the Kevin Fiala and the LA Kings on Tuesday night and Addison will be a healthy scratch for the fourth-straight game.

Calen Addison isn’t the only Wild rookie who has struggled in his debut 2023 season and spent time in the press box because of it. Marco Rossi got the same treatment earlier this season, before he was sent down to Iowa to get his game right.

Uncoachable Calen Addison?

But this situation feels different, mostly due to Addison’s attitude. Rossi knew he was playing poorly and that his confidence had taken a hit. Calen, on the other hand, has voiced his confusion over why he is getting scratched and scolded.

But there’s clearly something brewing here between the coaching staff and the rookie defenseman, who has been a spark for the power play but struggles in his own end. The fact this was the second time Addison has been sat over a three-month span means it’s a recurring problem; in December it was for just one game. And it seems as though Addison doesn’t completely agree with the coach’s assessment. Coaches told him he was playing “scared,” and not engaging.

“I’m not scared out there,” Addison said.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

A peak behind the curtain shines even more light on what the Wild brass are worried about, with the 22-year-old defenseman. At this point in his career, Addison isn’t coachable. Evason thinks he’s playing a certain way (scared), which is a difficult reality to face. But instead of using Evason’s words to get better, Calen rebukes and denies that a problem even exists.

Dean has asked Addison to watch and tap on Jared Spurgeon, to help his game. That makes sense since “Spurgy” is one of the best undersized defenseman in hockey. Did Calen take that advice to heart? Nope. According to Spurgeon, himself, Addison never asks anything.

If Addison is watching Spurgeon, that’s one thing. But he’s surely not fully taking advantage of a potential goldmine of a resource.

“He never really comes over to ask anything,” Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon wasn’t being critical. He did say he’s talked with Addison on a number of occasions, pointing out things in practice and stuff like that. He brought up issues he himself had in his first few seasons.

Michael Russo – The Athletic
Addison on the trade block

Calen Addison isn’t the only party who has received criticism for his benching. Russo and others have questioned the timing of Dean Evason’s recent decision making on multiple subjects, including the healthy scratches he’s handed out over the last couple of months.

But that fact won’t save Addison, who was on the Wild’s trade block even before this most recent benching. Clearly, Evason and Guerin are worried about Calen’s mental makeup. So, it’s no surprise they’d deal him if given a good opportunity.

Whether Addison fully agrees with the coaches, it’d be smart to tap into Spurgeon as much as he can. Do a one-on-one video session. Go out for a coffee. Addison may never be Spurgeon, but if he wants to be part of this team’s future, he’ll need to be an improved version of himself. As we’ve speculated — even before the scratches — Addison could be trade bait heading into the deadline, or more likely this offseason. And this might lead to more credence to that theory.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

The Minnesota Wild have a few reported trade candidates. Jordan Greenway, Matt Dumba and now Addison have all been tagged, at one point or another, as players who could be on the move. What Guerin chooses to do could be dictated by how many games they win, leading up to the trade deadline.

Currently, Minnesota holds the final wildcard spot in the West. If they impress, Guerin could look to add for a playoff run. If they pile up a few losses, he could very well choose to sell

The puck drops tonight vs the Kings at 7 PM.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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