Could Taylor Raddysh Help a Division Rival at the Trade Deadline?
The NHL’s Trade Deadline has morphed into crazy season with rumors flying and fake Twitter accounts reporting deals that never have and never will happen. But when a relatively trusted insider throws a name out there, it’s noteworthy (I’ve written about employing some discernment when considering rumors previously).
So this one caught my eye earlier today. And it’s worth considering.
The Minnesota Wild currently have 61 points in 54 games and are clinging to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. They’re looking around at Colorado — who appear to have sprinted past them and are getting healthy — and Nashville (to an extent) in the Central and Calgary, Los Angeles, and Edmonton in the Pacific. LA and Edmonton are ahead of them in the standings.
But their offense is not good right now. They’ve been banged up a lot this season, but the last six weeks have been especially brutal. Since Jan. 1, the Wild rank 29th in the NHL averaging 2.39 goals per game. You cannot get into, much less succeed in, the playoffs with that kind of offensive output.
They are clearly looking for a forward to help improve that area. And they have some cap space to play with this year; CapFriendly has them with around $15 million cap space at the deadline. Complicating matters is the $14 million in dead cap space they’ll have to survive around next season from the buyouts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise (those buyouts will combine to hit the cap for over $14 million the next two years).
Frank Seravalli at The Daily Faceoff recently wrote a trade deadline playbook for the Wild. In it, he mentioned a Blackhawks forward who hasn’t garnered much attention in many trade rumors over the past weeks as a potential fit for their immediate needs.
Seravalli had Raddysh ranked No. 44 on his most recent trade deadline big board. In that, he said the following about the Blackhawks forward:
He’s an under-the-radar type addition for a playoff team where money is tight. Raddysh has fresh legs. He’s piled up 14 goals, putting him on-pace for 23 over a full season on a mostly miserable Blackhawks team. With one more season on a cap hit that will technically be under league minimum next season, Raddysh is a steal. He’ll remain under team control after that, too, as a restricted free agent.
Raddysh, who turns 25 on Saturday, was acquired in the deal that sent Brandon Hagel to Tampa last year. He’s scored a career-high 14 goals this season and has been primarily a top-six wing for the Blackhawks. Those 14 goals would rank fifth on the current Wild roster, for what that’s worth.
And, as Seravalli points out, Raddysh has one more year of control at a $758,333 cap hit before hitting restricted free agency; an acquiring club would have control beyond his incredibly affordable number next year if they chose to pursue an extension this summer.
Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has done business with Minnesota since becoming the general manager. At last year’s deadline, he traded goaltender Marc-André Fleury to the Wild for a conditional second round pick (that became Ryan Greene). So there’s a relationship already there.
I see how Raddysh — with his scoring this year and incredibly cheap cap hit for one more year — would be a name that could entice any team that needs depth scoring without spending much money. And, as Seravalli notes both in his trade deadline big board and the Wild playbook pieces, that scoring at that dollar amount could have a nice pricetag for the Blackhawks.
With that in mind, I certainly wouldn’t limit the options to Minnesota if the Blackhawks entertained moving Raddysh. The Wild have all of their draft picks in 2023 except their third rounder, so one does have to wonder if they would be willing to part ways with a second-round selection for the affordable Raddysh. And, if they would, who else might do the same?
However, as I wrote when we considered the trade market for Sam Lafferty recently, the big question Davidson is going to have to ask when the phone rings is which players he wants to build around, which players are helping build the right culture in the room, and which players will bring back the right future value to make the move at this time.