So, last night I was perusing through the fabled Russo’s Rants (seriously, if you’re a Wild fan and you’re not reading Russo’s Rants, what’s wrong with you?) and I came across this tasty nugget of information from the incomparable Mike Russo.
“Also, just because the Wild basically traded Boogaard at the deadline doesn't mean they don't want him back. Coach Todd Richards values the element he brings and a third, fourth and Konopka for Boogaard was one heck of a value and why Fletcher was going to make that trade with Tampa.”
I had to read this little snippet about three or four times to make sure I wasn’t misreading it and, indeed, it appears that I might have been the only one in the world that was unaware that Derek Boogaard almost got moved at the trade deadline.
But that Boogaard almost got moved isn’t what surprised me.
He’s a fantastic enforcer, yes—possibly the best in the NHL at the moment—but he brings no appreciable value to the team other than his fists.
He’s a terrible skater, he hasn’t scored a goal in, like, forever and, for all intents and purposes, he might as well change his name to Rockhands McDumpnchase.
That he was on the trading block is really no large revelation with his contract coming due on July 1.
No, the thing that really baffled me about this trade was what Tampa Bay was willing to give up.
Zenon Konopka, a third and a fourth.
Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t quite grasp that.
Zenon Konopka, a third round pick and a fourth round pick.
For Derek Boogaard.
Now, naturally, my initial reaction to this was, “Was Brian Lawton on crack?”
Buuuuut, given the fact that the man was just fired from his job for the glorious work that he did in Tampa Bay, I think that everyone knows the answer to that question—a resounding yes.
Now, for whatever reason, the trade fell through. I don’t know if it was a lack of time or if there was a deal breaker involved or if Chuck Fletcher just didn’t pull the trigger.
All I know is that Derek Boogaard remained with the Wild for the rest of the season.
All of this, though, is said to draw one simple conclusion:
Derek Boogaard will not be on the Wild’s roster when they open the season in Finland next season.
It’s not because they tried to trade him. Plenty of players get dangled and almost traded. That has no bearing on the situation.
The reason I believe that Boogaard will not be on the Wild’s opening day roster is simple. The mystique of Derek Boogaard has greatly inflated his value.
Let’s be honest. The man is paid to fight, and he does it quite well.
In fact, he does it so well that there aren’t many in the NHL that will drop the mitts with him anymore.
In each of the last two seasons, Boogaard has totaled nine fights—well below the league leaders in the category.
But the mystique of Derek Boogaard has grown to such a level that his trade value was that of a roster player and two mid-round draft picks.
To that end, his mystique has likely grown to the level that there is someone that is going to back a boatload of cash up to his front door for him to sign with them, and I highly doubt that it will be the Wild.
And, at the risk of becoming very unpopular very quickly among Wild fans, I genuinely hope that it is not.
There are players out there that can bring the same sort of toughness that Boogaard brings to the game and are much more skilled. Players that can fight and that can enforce, but can still exhibit some modicum of talent on the ice.
They may not be “heavyweights,” so to speak, but in today’s NHL you don’t need to be a heavyweight to be an effective enforcer.
While the idea of the heavyweight fighter isn’t becoming obsolete, it is certainly taking a backseat. Just ask Adam Burish or Dan Carcillo.
But all of this isn’t to say that I don’t like Boogaard or that he doesn’t have some value.
He’s a great enforcer and a great fighter. He intimidates with the best of them and there is no one that disputes his pugilistic abilities.
But if he’s looking for a raise over what he’s making now?