Some Minnesota Wild news today, and no it doesn’t include the Stanley Cup Final (or anyone we might know that’s playing in it…).  First off, the Wild brought Mike Modano back to the state of Minnesota in a multifaceted role within the organization, as an Executive Advisor.  I’m really not sure what Mike’s job will entail completely, but I do know that regardless of what comes of it, it is a great troll job towards Norm Green and the Dallas Stars.

Let the trade winds continue to swirl.  Today there were reports that the Wild and Penguins were in trade discussions to swap Jason Zucker and Victor Rask for Phil Kessel and Jack Johnson.  Zucker’s name was brought up a lot around the trade deadline during last season and reports were a deal was close at one point, but never got done.  Victor Rask, what more to say other than the Wild traded Nino, and basically got zero (Rask) in return so if the Wild are able to move him it’s basically the white flag waving that the trade was an absolute disaster.  Win some, lose some I guess…  We got knocked out in the first 10 seconds of that fight.

A lot of the discussion I’ve seen today is the idea of trading 27 year old Jason Zucker for 31 year old Phil Kessel…  Is Phil an upgrade?  Would the Wild be walking into another trade robbery like the Nino deal?  There are a lot of moving parts so I looked into some situational stats for both.

Postseason:

Jason Zucker

  • 31 games
  • 8 points
  • -9 +/-

Phil Kessel

  • 87 games
  • 77 points
  • +22 +/-

(Via Hockey-Reference.com)

Big time players show up in big time games and Phil Kessel brings a dynamic to be able to score goals and set them up.  Zucker had an OT winner in the postseason, but he’s pretty one-dimensional and if his speed is taken away, he doesn’t bring the same dynamic as Kessel can.

If this trade goes through, I think it’s a win for Minnesota.  The Wild have done a tremendous job of tip-toeing the line of mediocrity.  For me, I make this trade 10/10 times.  Kessel would bring with him 2 Stanley Cup Rings, 6 playoff hat tricks, and plenty of gas left in the tank.

I took a look back at the last 3 regular seasons and postseasons and compared the two players.

Jason Zucker

2016-17

  • 22 goals/25 assists
  • +34 (+/-)

Postseason (5 Gms | 1 point)

2017-18

  • 33 goals/31 assists
  • +8 (+/-)

Postseason (5 Gms | 0 Points)

2018-19

  • 21 goals/21 assists
  • -9 +/-

No Postseason

Phil Kessel

2016-17

  • 23 goals/47 assists
  • +3 (+/-)

Postseason (25 Gms | 23 PTS | +12 +/-)

2017-18

  • 34 goals/58 assists
  • -4 (+/-)

Postseason (12 Gms | 9 PTS | -5 +/-)

2018-19

  • 27 goals/55 assists
  • -19 +/-

Postseason (4 Gms | 2 PTS | -1 +/-)

Via (Hockey-Reference.com)

The numbers speak for themselves.  Kessel has played in those big games, performed in those big games, and most importantly won those big games.

Give me Phil “The Thrill”.

Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan