The Minnesota Wild have acquired Marcus Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres. They have sent forward Eric Staal back in exchange. This marks the second Wild trade in a week as they acquired Nick Bjugstad late last week. Darren Dreger of TSN reported the deal late Wednesday afternoon.
For Eric Staal. Details being worked on. https://t.co/pJ0FqLIddH
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) September 16, 2020
Wild Trade for Marcus Johansson
The 29-year-old Johansson was reasonably productive in 2019-20. He scored nine goals and 30 points in 60 games while averaging 17:09 per game. This was the second consecutive year that Johansson has scored at least 30 points. He has fallen from his 40 and 50-point campaigns with the Washington Capitals but he is still a forward with some scoring punch.
The Sabres will get a productive veteran in return. Staal is 35-years-old but still managed to score 19 goals and 47 points in 66 games. He averaged a similar ice time of 17:08. Staal has been with Minnesota since 2016-17 and has 240 points in 311 games. Both players are former first-round selections but Staal was taken second overall in 2003. Johansson was 24th in the 2009 NHL Draft. Both players posted Corsi For percentages below 50 percent and neither contributed much on the physical side. Both will also bee free agents after 2020-21 but Johansson will make $1.25 million more in the coming season.
What This Means for the Future
This is an odd trade for both teams. The Sabres will save money on Staal’s contract but he is the older player who also had a lucky year; Staal’s shooting percentage was 5.5 percent higher than his career average. He would have had roughly seven fewer goals if he had shot closer to his average of 11.3 percent. The one thing Staal does do is provide a veteran presence in the Sabres’ middle-six. Buffalo also gets a number two pivot for at least this season.
This also looks strange for Minnesota. They traded for a more expensive player who hasn’t been as productive as Staal for several years. It’s possible Johansson will recapture some of his Washington magic with Minnesota’s talented wings but he doesn’t do anything special based on recent numbers. The most obvious thing this trade does for the Wild is make them slightly younger.