2018-19 Stats: 14G-29A-43P
Contract Status: Signed for one more season through 2020 ($5.187M million AAV)
If you are looking for the best Wild defenseman from opening night through the end of the season, look no further than Jared Spurgeon.
The 5-foot-9 blueliner has made a name for himself for his great all-around play since the Wild picked him off the scrap heap from New York in 2010. From an analytics standpoint, Spurgeon has become the Wild’s best defenseman.
Just from Evolving Hockey’s goals above replacement value metric, Spurgeon was not only the Wild’s best defenseman but he was their best player in 2018-19.
To begin the season, Spurgeon was on a defensive pair with Jonas Brodin while Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba manned the top pair. The pairing was steady, as the Wild boasted a superb top four right up until Dumba’s injury in mid-December. After Dumba’s injury, the right shot Spurgeon went back to the top pair alongside Suter, a place that is very familiar to the Edmonton native.
In addition to his steady play on the back end, Spurgeon set career marks in goals, assists and points this season. His 14 goals are now tied for third-most in team history by a defenseman in a single season.
Eclipsing the 40 point mark this season made Spurgeon just the fifth different defenseman in Wild history to hit that total. He joins the likes of Suter (five times), Brent Burns (two times), Marek Zidlicky (two times) and Dumba to have hit that plateau.
While the rewards of having Spurgeon have been immense for the Wild since his signing, the team and player have come to a fork in the road. Spurgeon will be entering the final year of his contract in 2019-20 and currently stands as the team’s most valuable trade asset heading into the offseason.
Spurgeon expressed a desire to remain in Minnesota beyond his current contract, but if the Wild got an offer for the right-handed defenseman they could not refuse it could seem very likely they would pull the trigger to try and help their on-the-fly retooling.
Jason Zucker might be atop the list of players likely to get traded this summer, but Spurgeon cannot be far behind. If the Wild give the slightest of hints that he would be available, teams will be lining up at their door to acquire the defenseman’s services.
Maybe, just maybe, the Wild might acquire a young goal scorer they have been badly seeking. But would it be worth it at the cost of their best defenseman?