Originally written on The Rhino and Compass  |  Last updated 10/19/14
Edmonton_oilers_v_fd55
The Wild are up against a wall this offseason. They need to find a little cap space, which they would do by letting go of Dany Heatley using something called a compliance buyout, but they can’t do that because he had shoulder surgery and is on the isable list. They needed to find another way to stock their roster and to get their payroll down. The team needed to make a decision on their restricted free agents, because many of them were worthwhile contributors, but their cost was prohibitive. One of those players was Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck was a star of the team two years ago, but then the team started to add more skill players they started going towards a different style. Clutterbuck is more suited to a high energy grinding game. Sure, he scored a bunch of goals 2 years ago, but they were ugly and a product of a lot of ice time. His game is suited more perfectly for the Eastern Conference which tends to be more physical, as the Wild have reimagined their roster to fit with the Western Conference’s more wide open style. The Wild wanted to flow a little bit better, and they intended to do that with their free agent acquisition from a year a go, Zack Parise, as well as with rookie Mikal Granlund. Granlund struggled and spent more time in the AHL than the Wild would have hoped, however, and beyond the first line, the scoring wasn’t as easy as anticipated. All of these factors came together today at the draft as they sought a solution. The Wild wanting to do something with Clutterbuck, who is a better fit for the Eastern Conference anyways, wanting to boost their prospect pool despite not having a first round pick, wanting to bolster their skill offense and getting further away from the grinding possession game that has dominated their franchise since the team came to be. They also, perhaps, wanted to find someone to pair with Granlund down the road to help with his development. At the same time on Long Island, the Islanders have a wealth of speedy skill forwards, but wanted to get more energy and get a little bit tougher after getting bounced by the Penguins in the playoffs during the spring. They had a top 5 pick from 2010 still playing in Bridgeport, their minor league franchise in Nino Niederreiter. A match made in heaven, the Islanders sent Niderreiter to Minnesota for Clutterbuck and a draft pick Now even though Mikael Granlund isn’t a sure thing to make the NHL roster next season, he will still be able to build chemistry with a linemate of the future, and the Wild was able to free up cap space and find a more apt home for Clutterbuck. The initial reaction, for me, is this. Clutterbuck was a popular player in Minnesota, but his time as a useful hockey player within the Wild system had run out. Niederreiter scored 50 points last year with Bridgeport, and appears to be finding his game even though he struggled coming over from Switzerland initially. This is a great trade for Minnesota, and all the more impressive considering how up against the wall they were.  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Favre delays Lambeau return due to Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

Ortiz surprised military families with World Series tickets

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.