Wild trade Nico Sturm to rival Avalanche for Tyson Jost
A first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft out of the University of North Dakota, the 24-year-old Jost has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 59 games this season.
ST. PAUL -- With the Minnesota Wild struggling through a midseason swoon, general manager Bill Guerin has decided to switch things up.
About an hour after the Wild wrapped up a tough practice Tuesday morning at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul, Guerin traded center Nico Sturm to the rival Colorado Avalanche in exchange for winger Tyson Jost.
Though it’s not the splashy move Wild fans might have been hoping for, it’s clearly Guerin’s attempt to inject some life into a team that has lost its way over the past month.
A first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old Jost has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 59 games this season. He mostly has filled a bottom-six role with the Avalanche, recording 45 goals and 58 assists in 321 games.
“I think he needs an opportunity to showcase his skills more,” Guerin said. “I think he’ll be able to get that with us. I think it’s a win-win because I think both players were in need of a change.
“We’re very excited to have Tyson. We think there’s a lot more potential for Tyson to grow and become the player that he wants to be.”
It’s unclear where in the lineup coach Dean Evason will play Jost, but he is expected to make his Wild debut against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
There’s reason to believe Jost has some untapped abilities offensively. He was an elite scorer in juniors with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, and more impressively, recorded 16 goals and 19 assists in his only collegiate season at the University of North Dakota.
“There’s a reality to a player just needing a change of scenery,” Guerin said. “I think this will give him a nice jolt, and hopefully he can find his offensive game.”
As for the 26-year-old Sturm, in hindsight, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is on the way out. He had been scratched a few times over the past couple of weeks with youngster Connor Dewar taking his spot in the lineup.
After signing with the Wild as an undrafted free agent out of Clarkson University on April 1, 2019, Sturm got some seasoning in the minors before becoming a regular in the NHL. He posted 20 goals and 16 assists in 111 games with the Wild.
The fact that Sturm is a pending unrestricted free agent likely influenced Guerin to get something for him right now, rather than lose him for nothing this offseason.
It’s not a coincidence that Jost comes with the incentive of cost certainly. He carries a manageable $2 million cap hit through the 2022-23 season, meaning he’ll be around next season when the Wild have to start pinching pennies in the aftermath of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts.
“There’s definitely a benefit to having Tyson signed for next year already,” Guerin said. “You know, we didn’t feel that we were going to be able to sign Nico. But I’d say 99% of the decision was to make us better this year. And I think we are better.”