The Chicago Blackhawks have traded Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild for a conditional second-round draft pick that becomes a first if he wins four games for the Wild and they get into the third round. The Wild then traded Kaapo Kahkonen to San Jose along with a fifth-round draft pick for Jacob Middleton.
The Wild get: A big, tough, underrated defenseman who has really come into his own this year. Potentially, Middleton is a 20-point, 90+ PIM, 200 Hits and 150 BLKS defenseman. If Middleton plays 21 of Minnesota's remaining 22 games he will be an RFA in the summer. If he plays 20 or fewer – he's a UFA. Middleton is 6-3, 219 pounds. But the big news here is Marc-Andre Fleury. Playoff experience and Cup rings and then some. Exactly what the Wild needed. Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen had great starts to the season, but are showing signs of stumbling. Why risk it? A Talbot-Fleury tandem brings as much experience in net as a team can have.
The Blackhawks get: A very high draft pick for their goalie who was only around for another five weeks.
The Sharks get: A potential starting goalie. This is what teams do, they pick up promising goalies in their mid-to-late 20s and bank on him being 'that guy' they can lock in for five or six years. They did it with Martin Jones a decade ago, tried Adin Hill this year. But over the years, goalies such as Talbot, Craig Anderson, Devan Dubnyk, Darcy Kuemper and Brian Elliott got their careers as No.1 goalies this way. Odds of it working? We always go 50-50. Didn't work for Hill. Does it work for Kahkonen?
Fantasy Players Impacted: Kahkonen was probably going to be a 1B starter again next season and then possibly take over as the starter in 2023-24. But as I've stated on DobberHockey many times – he needs work. Right now the Sharks have three goalies. James Reimer and Adin Hill are each signed for next year for around $2.2M each (give or take) and Kahkonen is an RFA. If Kahkonen signs for more than them – and he might, though his stats are only better than Hill's and not Reimer's – then he'll be the favorite to be San Jose's starter. Given that Reimer is now 34 and often injured, I can see Kahkonen getting 50+ starts next season, making this a better move for him than remaining with Minnesota. But it's a risk/rewar