Prospect Nino Niederreiter has been traded by the New York Islanders to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck, a grinding winger known more for hitting things than for scoring things, and the Wild's third-round pick (70th overall) in the 2013 draft.
The trade represents an end to a melodrama between Niederreiter and the Islanders, and ultimately puts an "F" on the Isles' decision to use their 5th-overall pick in 2010 on the Swiss winger.
From a poor rookie NHL season to complaints about being placed in the AHL this past season, what started off with smiles and optimism became a soiled relationship that reportedly had the Isles shopping Niederreiter and looking for more all week long.
Though Niederreiter excelled in AHL Bridgeport in 2012-13, his agent reportedly emailed a trade request to the Islanders after Niederreiter was not included in the condensed 2013 training camp after the lockout ended. After the season, he said the right things to media but there was a lingering undercurrent that the two parties might be ready to part ways.
In the Islanders' system, Niederreiter had been past by other forward prospects such as Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson, who led the Sound Tigers in scoring this season from the center position. But those two prospects are centers, while Niederreiter was the best clear winger prospect in the system.
By the looks of it, this seems to be a trade where the Isles took "what they could get" for Niederreiter rather than something specific they were seeking -- unless another physical bottom-six winger was high on their list of targets.
Though to be fair to the Islanders, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher reportedly attracted a lot of interest in Clutterbuck, and refused to trade him within his division.
Clutterbuck, 25, is a restricted free agent who the Wild were shopping because his asking price likely didn't fit what they had in mind. Though he is known more for his hitting -- he and Islanders winger Matt Martin have each led the league in that sketchy stat the past few seasons -- Clutterbuck is good for 10-15 goals per season. He is coming off a three-year deal that paid him an average of $1.4 million per season.