The Minnesota Wild may be open for business as the trade deadline nears, and these five teams should be ready to make a deal for winger Jason Zucker.
If former Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton had his way, forward Jason Zucker would have been part of his reshaping of the roster at the 2019 trade deadline. But a deal with the Calgary Flames fell through at the last minute, and a deal that would have sent him to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a trade for Phil Kessel in the offseason didn’t happen as Kessel exercised his veto power.
Zucker missed 10 games earlier this season with a fractured right fibula, but he has 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 40 games played. He’s solidly on pace for a fourth straight 20-plus goal season, even with some correction from a career-high shooting percentage (20 percent) and a career-low in shots per game (1.75).
The Wild are in last place in the Central Division, and first-year general manager Bill Guerin may be open for business with the trade deadline now less than a month away (Feb. 24). Zucker still stands as a trade chip, and rumors are almost sure to ramp up in the coming weeks.
Here are five teams who should be looking to make a trade for Jason Zucker.
If not for a paperwork issue last year, Zucker would already be in a Flames’ uniform. They finished tied for the second-most goals in the league last year (3.52 per game), and this year (entering Friday) they sit 26th in goals per game (2.63). So their need for offense is far greater, even accounting for some potential internal improvement as some key guys have underachieved thus far.
Calgary is naturally rumored to be looking for a top-six forward, with a tilt toward right-handed shooters. Zucker is a left-handed shot, but otherwise he fits a real need for some extra scoring punch. With $16 million in cap space looking toward the offseason, the three full years and $5.5 million cap hit per year left on Zucker’s contract is palatable for the Flames.