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Bill Guerin: Brock Faber has 'it factor' and should win Calder Trophy

Wild general manager says defenseman is 'a star in many ways.'

Is Brock Faber the leading candidate to win the Calder Trophy? Bill Guerin thinks so.

The Wild general manager told Chad Hartman Thursday on WCCO Radio that he thinks Faber, a 21-year-old defenseman, should be the frontrunner for NHL Rookie of the Year. And that’s regardless of the injury to Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard, who’s been out since Jan. 5 after suffering a fractured jaw and isn’t expected back for another six to eight weeks.

“To me he’s the frontrunner, he should be the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, I don’t care if Bedard’s in or not,” Guerin said on the radio. “With (Jared Spurgeon) being out, we’ve had to rely on him, he’s stepped up to the plate, and like I said, (Faber’s) got the it factor.

"He just gets it, he knows what to do, he’s got confidence. He’s got the right amount of swagger and a great amount of humility. The way he approaches not just the game but the professionalism, how he treats people, this kid’s a star in many ways.”

Guerin said Faber has been the Wild’s best and most consistent player, even going as far as to say that Faber essentially hasn't had one bad game all season. 

Guerin and Hartman also discussed the Wild’s injuries, which have crushed the team this season. Top defenseman Spurgeon is out for the year, and just about every impact player on the team has been out at one point or another this year. 

“You can’t deny the injuries. They’re always going to play a factor when you have that many core players (out) at the same time,” Guerin said.

Still, the Wild have found their way to a resurgence, something Guerin credited in part to the coaching change as well as players returning from injuries. He said it’s been a “bizarre” year, but that no one will feel sorry for the Wild, and he expects them to put themselves in a position to win every night. 

Minnesota has played particularly well recently, winning its last three games.

“We’re kind of back in it,” Guerin said.

As far as injury updates, Guerin said not to expect goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury back until after the All-Star break, which begins after Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks. He also has no concerns that Spurgeon will be able to come back strong next season, praising the team’s medical staff as well as Spurgeon’s own mindset.

“We just wanna make sure that he’s still around and still remains a part of it and still has an influence on the team, that’s just how important he is,” Guerin said. “We gotta help him through not just the physical part, but also the mental part as well.”

With the Wild in the midst of a resurgence, Hartman asked Guerin whether he’d buy or sell at the March 8 trade deadline if the Wild are a couple points out of a playoff spot — they’re four points out of the final spot in the West entering Thursday game against Nashville — and whether they’d need to have a legitimate chance of advancing for him to make a move.

Guerin said he wouldn’t be able to provide an answer until it gets closer as any decisions he’d make would depend on how the Wild are playing and the asking price. Guerin did say that he wouldn’t want to give up many of the Wild’s assets right now and that he’s not going to “throw crap against the wall to see if it sticks.” 

Brock Faber

Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber (7) celebrates his goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on Jan. 23, 2024.