Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wild Trade with Blackhawks: Swap Defenseman for Forward

The Minnesota Wild have traded for forward Brad Winchester from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly, according to NBC Sports.  This is the first NHL trade since the Olympic roster freeze went into place in early February.

Winchester, a Wisconsin native who played four years in college for the Badgers, was most recently with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL, where he had a strong 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists) in 55 games.  His last NHL ice time was with the San Jose Sharks, where he scored 6 goals to go with 4 assists in 67 regular season appearances.

He has also spent NHL-time with the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers. All-told he has recorded 37 goals and 31 assists in regular season NHL ice-time.  He is a scrappy player as well, having racked up 552 penalty minutes in the NHL.  He carries a $550K cap hit on a one-year deal ending in 2014.

Connelly is a left-shooting defenseman who played for Colorado College.  The 27 year-old Minnesota native has spent the past few seasons playing the blueline in the AHL where he has been quite adept at connecting with his teammates to set up goals.  He is finishing up a two-year deal carrying an annual cap hit of $612,500 which ends in 2014, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.  

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