Minnesota Wild trade Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask to the Carolina Hurricanes
Nino Niederreiter has not been lighting it up in Minnesota recently (Photo: NHL.com)

Minnesota Wild trade Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask to the Carolina Hurricanes

A good old-fashioned trade. A struggling forward from a team in a battle for a Wild Card for another struggling forward from a team just outside of one.

jakub-bobro
Jakub Bobro

The trade was announced just after noon PST, a simple one-for-one trade with no draft picks and retained salary. The Minnesota Wild currently sit in fifth place in the Central Division and hold onto the second Wild Card spot on goal difference with 49 points.

The Carolina Hurricanes are also fifth in their division with 49 points, but unfortunately for them, this means that they find themselves seven points outside of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference of the NHL.

Both teams are looking for that extra boost over the competition that would take them to the offseason, while both players are looking for a change of scenery that would help them regain form from two seasons ago.

Nino Niederreiter

The Swiss winger is in the second year of a five-year, $5.25M per year contract, which seemed a bargain after his career-best 57-point season. Nino Niederreiter was 24-years-old at the time, so only better things were expected. However, Niederreiter scored only 32 points in 63 games after struggling with a lower-body injury.

This season hasn't been much better for Niederreiter, earning 23 points in 46 games, being on track for 41 points on the season. The winger also experienced a ten-game goal drought recently, only ending it in the Wild's shootout win against the Los Angeles Kings on January 16th.

There are a couple of ways that Niederreiter could fit into the Hurricanes' lineup. The Swiss could lead the third line, or replace Justin Williams on the second line to play alongside Andrei Svechnikov.

Theoretically, Niederreiter could also play on the first line for a while with the Hurricanes' top stars Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen to regain some confidence and get some points on the board. This could unlock the potential that was always expected from the overall No. 5 pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Victor Rask

The Minnesota Wild get to expand their Scandinavian forward collection while shedding $1.25M in salary cap hit, as Victor Rask is in the third year of a six-year, $4M a year contract. However, a modified No Trade Clause will be in for the last two years of the contract, where Rask will submit a list of ten teams he refuses to be traded to.

Rask's production has been declining since signing this long-term contract, scoring 48 points in 2015/16, which is his career-best so far. Since then, the Swede scored 45 points, then 31, and has only earned six points in 26 games this season.

The center has only scored one goal after being out through accidentally cutting his fingers with a knife until late November. 

Rask is most likely to start out as a center on the third line, but he might be given a spot on the second line alongside Eric Staal to get his production going

Overall, who do you think won this trade? Will Niederreiter and Rask pick up their scoring with new teams? Let us know in the comments section below.

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