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Acquiring Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist Makes Sense for the Wild

The 28th of February was a great day for the Minnesota Wild both on and off the ice. On the ice, the Wild won a crucial game against the New York Islanders. A win that brings the Wild seven points clear of the Calgary Flames in the tight Western Conference playoff race. Filip Gustavsson continued his strong season, and for once the Wild won without the help of Kirill Kaprizov. After a stumble right after the All-Star break, things have become better for the Wild. However, secondary goalscoring was still an issue despite the better form, and just before the game against the Islanders, Wild GM Bill Guerin, addressed the obvious needs, by acquiring Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist.

The two trades came within a matter of hours and show Guerin’s intent with the team. The price was a third and fifth-round pick. They might not be the flashiest names or get the same attention as when Patrick Kane was traded to the New York Rangers shortly before, but both Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist could easily turn out great for the Wild, and here is why.

Marcus Johansson: The Replacement for Jordan Greenway?

The first trade the Wild made on the 28th of February was a trade with the Washington Capitals. The Wild got veteran forward Marcus Johansson for a third-round pick in 2024. Johansson has been a part of the Wild in the past, back in the 2020-2021 season. During the season he was never a huge success and left after just 38 games with the Wild. Therefore, the announcement of the trade was met with a lot of confusion online. Many felt that it was an overpayment and that he wouldn’t be the answer to the scoring issues the Wild was having. He might be a veteran and fast player, but he was far from the solution to the Wilds issues.

This was until the second trade of the day happened. When the Wild signed Nyquist it became apparent that his role wasn’t that of goalscoring second liner, but more so to fill in on the third line as a hard-working and fast player, who could replace Jordan Greenway, who looks likely to be traded before the deadline. In this role, Johansson works as a good veteran presence, but also with the ability to supply a scoring touch. He has scored 13 goals and has 15 assists this season with the Capitals. If he can stay at this pace, he would add some valuable scoring from the bottom six. Something Greenway, Marcus Foligno, Frédérick Gaudreau, and Brandon Duhaime have failed to do this season on the third line.

Gustav Nyquist: The Injured Catalyst

While a third-round pick for Johansson could be considered an overpayment by Bill Guerin, his second trade was a steal. For the fifth overall pick Minnesota acquired from the Boston Bruins in the Dmitri Orlov deal, they got Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist has had another strong season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, contributing 22 points in 48 games. The reason he hasn’t played more is down to an injury that he is still recovering from. This injury suffered on Jan. 25 against the Edmonton Oilers, was one of the reasons his value was so low. Many had written him off for the remaining regular season, and potentially some of the playoff as well. Add to it a memo made by the NHL to prevent signings of LTIR players for playoff purposes, which meant many suiters for Nyquist were left out.

All this created the perfect storm for Bill Guerin to get a cheap and affordable solution to the Wilds lackluster scoring. Especially since Michael Russo after the trade reported that Nyquist is optimistic, he can return sooner. This could be exactly what the Wild need to make a late charge for the playoff or cement their place in the postseason.  When healthy Nyquist’s speed and skill would be a near-perfect fit for the Wilds top six, and especially the second line.

A second line plagued with issues this season and constantly changing. Matt Boldy has had an off year after a strong rookie campaign and has needed something to rejuvenate his game. Nyquist on paper looks to be the player since his speed could be exactly what Boldy needs to create space and chances for the Wild. This combined with a strong two-way center in Joel Eriksson Ek and suddenly the Wild got something very interesting they lacked all season.

Main Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports


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