When an NHL season ends, rumors about player moves start to become more pronounced. One of the strongest rumors that still persists to this day is the rumor that the Buffalo Sabres will be trading winger Thomas Vanek to the Minnesota Wild. The reasons for the rumor are purely emotional as some feel that Vanek would want to come back to the state where Vanek played his college hockey, and others think that Vanek would benefit from getting reunited with his former Sabres’ teammate Jason Pominville in Minnesota. Those are the rumors. The real moves that Minnesota has made in the 2013 offseason actually make a lot more sense for the future of the team.
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Notable Change #1: Signing Jonathon Blum.
Jonathon Blum was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2007 to be a shut-down defenseman and a force along the blue line. Blum has been impressive, but his style just did not fit in with the plans that the Predators have going forward. When Blum’s initial rookie contract with the Predators was up this offseason, the Wild swooped in and signed him. Blum is a perfect fit for a team that gets much of its offense from its defensive players. He will fit right in with the rest of the Minnesota defensive scheme and Wild fans can look forward to seeing this player grow and develop as time goes by.
Notable Change #2: Letting Pierre-Marc Bouchard Go.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a hard-nosed forward that likes to mix it up in the corners and play physical in front of the opposition’s net. That kind of play can take a toll on a player and Bouchard missed a year and a half of play due to recurring concussion issues. He was able to return from his injuries, but his production has not been the same. The Wild had to choose between paying Bouchard a lot of money at this stage of his career, or letting him sign with another team. The choice to allow Bouchard to sign with the Islanders will save the Wild money and open up a roster spot to one of the team’s up and coming players.
Notable Change #3: Letting Devin Setoguchi Go.
Despite his inconsistent performance throughout his career, it had to be difficult to allow Devin Setoguchi sign with the Winnipeg Jets this offseason. He is a fireplug of a player that was a fan favorite in Minnesota for years. But his inconsistent play just did not add up to the kind of dollars that the Jets were willing to pay, so the Wild let Setoguchi go. This will be a tough adjustment for the team because Setoguchi was a fixture in the locker room and on the ice. There are young players that will need to step up and fill in some pretty big shoes being left behind by Devin Setoguchi.
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