San Jose sent newly signed, restricted free-agent forward Devin Setoguchi, 2010 first-round pick Charlie Coyle, and this year's first-round pick (28th—just as Coyle was) to Minnesota. In return, they got defenceman Brent Burns and Minnesota's second-round pick in 2012.
Burns, 26, is the puck-moving defenceman so valued by possession teams like the Sharks. He has scored 15 or more goals and had over 25 assists twice in his seven-year career while playing for a team that scores little, Minnesota having never finished better than tied for 17th with 2.68 goals scored per game during his tenure.
He is also a capable defender, facing the toughest the opposition has to offer while rating only a minus-15 over 453 games for a losing team. While Burns missed over 20 games in both 2008-09 and 2009-10, he has played at least 77 games in four of his six full seasons, including 80 in 2010-11.
The blue line is more important in the Western Conference than forwards—every conference champion since the lockout has had an elite unit. But the Sharks have been stronger at forward than on the blue line during former defenceman Doug Wilson's tenure as general manager, so this helps to balance that out.
To see how this move affects the San Jose's off-season, check out a full series on this link to the Sharks page of Sports Haze Bay Area.
Meanwhile, that lack of scoring is addressed by the Wild.
Setoguchi had 22 goals and 19 assists in 72 games to finish eighth on the team in scoring.
Those are not great numbers for a player who played much of the season on the top line alongside Joe Thornton, mostly because Setoguchi can be maddeningly inconsistent at times.
This was also evident in the playoffs. He tied for the team lead in goals with seven, but got three of those in one game. He also had just three assists and was minus-seven.
But part of the reason for the tough plus/minus rating is that Setoguchi's line was used to countering the other team's top line regularly. Seto may not have been the reason that line was chosen for checking duties, but his effort was there as he led forwards in hits.
His speed and physical play are assets that will benefit Minnesota almost as much as his scoring, and at just 24, Setoguchi allows the Wild to get better while shaving a bit off their cap payroll.
Charlie Coyle also provides Minnesota a huge prospect. He is going to represent Team USA in the junior world championships, and will be exciting the Excel Energy Center crowd within two years.
Thus, the Wild may have given up a slightly better player, but they also shifted their personnel to provide where their need is greatest. For this trade-off, they gained a prospect and a pick that is likely over a dozen places higher than the one they will give up next season.
Meanwhile, the Sharks have improved for the immediate future. Not only did they upgrade the players on their roster, but they also got one who will be on the ice more. They also gave from their abundance and added to their weakest unit.
With four star players over 30, the Sharks are looking to win now. Thus, while paying a steep price for immediate help, it was worth it for the team.
Nevertheless, Minnesota has to be considered the bigger winner.