Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST
8:05 PM EST. Regulation only. After yesterday’s trade deadline, some teams will take on a different mindset and mindset plays a big role in outcomes. We’ll therefore try and assess what transpired yesterday or over the past few days and see if we can use it or combine it with other criteria to it give us an edge in any way.
The Minnesota Wild didn’t have a ton of financial flexibility for the trade deadline, but moving Mike Reilly helped a bit in that regard. Reilly looked like a key part of the Wild defense corps, but with the emergence of Nick Seeler in the last few weeks, it made him expendable. The team needed to free up some cash for a potential signing of Jordan Greenway and recall of Luke Kunin down the stretch. Reilly has missed plenty of time this year too and he’s been a healthy scratch other times as well so perhaps he was in Bruce Boudreau’s doghouse. The Wild will not miss him much at all.
The Blue Notes traded Paul Stastny to the Jets in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, forward Erik Foley and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick. St. Louis will retain 50% of Stastny’s remaining contract, which will expire at the end of this season. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong watched his team lose game after game and conceded it just wasn’t good enough. Once again Armstrong traded a veteran with an expiring contract for a first-round draft pick and a forward prospect. Last year he sent offensive defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk packing and this time it was center Paul Stastny. First round picks don’t grow on trees but the trade of Paul Stastny after a six-game losing streak creates an image of giving up. Quality centers are vital to any teams’ chances of playoff success and it’s not like the Blue Notes are loaded down the middle. We understand the move by the Blues but mentally speaking, one has to give a big edge to Minnesota here.
As mentioned, the Blues have dropped six in a row and have not scored a goal in back-to-back 4-0 losses to Winnipeg and Nashville. Granted that pair might be two of the top three teams in the West but not scoring for 120 minutes straight can’t be good for the Blues confidence. The Blues have scored seven goals in their past six games and scored three times in one of those games. Furthermore, the XCel Energy Center has proven to be one of the more difficult arenas to go into and emerge victorious, as the Wild are 21-5-6 at home.
The Blues are certainly not out of the playoff picture, as they sit just one and two points back of the two Wild Card teams, Los Angeles and Dallas, respectively. A win here combined with a Kings loss in Vegas and the Blues leapfrog over the Kings with 18 games remaining for both. However, the Blues GM made a statement and while St. Louis will likely be better off in the future, they are not a better team today than they were yesterday. This is a team that is losing frequently and not scoring goals right now and that has a pair of shaky goaltenders that they have to choose from to work between the pipes. The Wild have a wounded prey here and the timing for it, the day after the deadline, is perfect.
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MINNESOTA -½ +117 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.34)