The Wild made its first offseason trade this afternoon by sending a dynamic offensive defenseman to the New Jersey Devils for an offensive forward!
No, not Brent Burns for Zach Parise, but Maxim Noreau for David McIntyre.
Noreau, 24, is a bona fide minor-league All-Star who is just itching for a chance to make it in the NHL. It's become clear that's not possible in Minnesota, not with the amount of defensemen on one-way contracts, plus two-way depth with Clayton Stoner, Marco Scandella, Justin Falk, Nate Prosser, Tyler Cuma, Chay Genoway, etc, etc.
Noreau was to become a restricted free agent this summer and it was just time to give him a chance to move on.
McIntyre, 24, played four years at Colgate, scoring 82 points his final two years. He was originally drafted in the fifth round by Dallas, has played in Anaheim, New Jersey and Minnesota systems now in the past year and scored 30 points in 78 games for Albany last year with 51 penalty minutes.
Nothing flashy, but there's offensive upside, he's fast and works hard.
The 6-foot, 190-pound native of Oakville, Ont., was named a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2009 after recording 43 points (21-22=43) in 37 games during his junior season. McIntyre was also named to the ECAC All-Academic Team, the ECAC First All-Star Team and the NCAA East First All-American Team in 2009 and was an ECAC Second All-Star Team selection in 2010.
Noreau recorded 54 points (10-44=54) in 76 games with the Houston Aeros and ranked tied for third in scoring amongst AHL defensemen and was named to the 2010-11 AHL First All-Star Team. He added 12 points (2-10=12) in 24 playoff matches. Noreau also skated in five games with the Minnesota Wild during the 2010-11 campaign.
In other news:
As reported in today's paper here, Craig MacTavish interviewed this morning with Winnipeg, but he is still the guy the Wild is eyeing. The problem I see here is Winnipeg does not appear close to hiring a coach. There's MacT, Claude Noel, Craig Ramsay and Mike Haviland in the mix.
The Wild, I very much doubt, is in a position to let MacTavish wait, so if he's offered the Wild job, he may have to either take the job or the Wild may have to move on.
If the Wild moves on, the most likeliest candidate appears to be Houston coach Mike Yeo.
Yeo, 37, is a rising star among the coaching ranks, and maybe unfairly, he's getting lumped in with Todd Richards because Richards was a young coach with limited head-coaching experience. But the reality is Yeo has a different personality and has been through different experiences, like two Stanley Cup Finals and a Stanley Cup as Pittsburgh's assistant.
He makes sense in a lot of ways. First, he took a Houston team with very little offensive firepower all the way to the Calder Cup Finals thanks to a structured, hard-forechecking, aggressive system. Well, the Wild's not exactly bustling with offensive firepower and could use some structure. Houston routinely outshot its opponents dramatically and surrendered shots in the low-20s. Also, if the Wild's going young next year with potentially guys like Colton Gillies, Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, etc., it could prove beneficial to have a coach they know and respect.
But, I get the sense from inside the organization that they're very concerned going young for a second straight hire and passing over a more experienced coach.
I still get the sense that MacT is the one the Wild wants. But the draft is coming. The Wild wants to have a coach in place.
The search needs to come to an end at some point soon.
Lastly, anybody catch a glimpse of former Wild players Anton Khudobin and Shane Hnidy hoisting the Cup last night? Khudobin was a black ace, while Hnidy was a depth player. Neither will likely get his name on the Cup (Hnidy maybe if the Bruins petition), but they'll get a ring, so congrats!