Minnesota Wild Trying to Swoop in on Patrik Laine, Rutger McGroarty?

Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are set to pick 13th in the NHL Draft tonight and it’s an important night for Bill Guerin & Co. This fanbase is needs a jolt of energy. Too much of this early offseason has been about how little the Wild can do, given their salary cap situation.

Well, that was the same way we felt about the Timberwolves, entering the NBA draft on Wednesday night. But then we found out that, where there is a will, there is a way. And just like that, a trade for No. 8 overall had the entire Wolves fanbase feeling like next season has championship implications.

Minnesota Wild trying to trade for Patrik Laine?

Hopefully, Bill Guerin was taking notes because this is the Wild’s best opportunity to pull out something unexpectedly creative that can rejuvenate a dormant fanbase. Like… a trade for high volume 26-year-old goal getter, Patrik Laine?

According to Michael Russo (The Athletic), the Wild are trying to convince the Columbus Blue Jackets to eat half of his salary for the next two seasons, in order to land exactly what this team needs, a legitimate top-6 scoring threat that can alleviate some of the pressure on Kirill Kaprizov.

While there will be free agents they’d pursue, they could also dive into the trade market and pursue wingers that way. One player who may make sense is Patrik Laine, the Columbus Blue Jackets 26-year-old scorer who is looking for a fresh start. The only way it could work, though, with the Wild’s cap situation, is if the Blue Jackets ate nearly half of his $8.7 million cap hit for the next two years. The Wild could afford him at $4.35 million, especially if Columbus took a rostered player back.

Laine is forcing his way out of Columbus. After a promising 2023 summer, Patrik suffered a concussion early in the season that caused him to miss three weeks. Upon his return, he was a shell of himself, which eventually led to him being a healthy scratch.

When he was let back on the ice, he looked better and more focused, until he broke his clavicle. Then, when he was due to return from that injury, he entered NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, citing mental health reasons. He remains in that program, which means he is not allowed communication with the team directly.

Related: Marco Rossi, Brock Faber Both Get NHL All-Rookie Honors

Nonetheless, his agent has made it clear that Laine wants to be traded and will not play in Columbus anymore. That is why a lot of teams have been in contact with the Blue Jackets, regarding their young, but veteran, winger. In 2023, Laine played just 18 games, scoring 6 goals and assisting on three others.

Patrik Laine hasn’t played more than 56 games in a season, since 2019-20. After entering the league at just 18 years old, with some of the highest expectations of any youngster in the league, he’s struggled to become that guy at two different stops, for one reason or another.

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Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/28/2024.

Minnesota Wild also interested in Rutger McGroarty

Laine isn’t the only top-6 winger that the Wild reportedly have their eyes on. Minnesota is one of the teams that is trying to catch the Winnipeg Jets’ attention for their 20-year-old University of Michigan prospect, Rutger McGroarty, who has informed the Jets that he will not be going pro with their organization.

According to reports, McGroarty is expected to be traded at some point this afternoon/evening, either before or during the NHL Draft. It sounds like the Wild have all but promised him a spot on the NHL roster, should they be the winning bidder for his services.

Minnesota would likely be willing to trade the 13th pick outright, especially if it was to the Winnipeg Jets for the University of Michigan standout Rutger McGroarty. There’s no doubt the Wild, like many teams, have been talking to the Jets about the 2022 14th pick, who reportedly doesn’t want to sign with Winnipeg.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

You can’t help but wonder if Bill Guerin is feeling a little pressure to light off some fireworks, in order to put the Wild back in the headlines this weekend, after the Vikings and Timberwolves did exactly that with their recent drafts.

By now, most hockey fans in town have all but given up on this offseason… and possibly on the 2024-25 regular season too. If there is any way to ignite that spark of interest, it’s tonight. Just like other teams in town have recently.

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