Darren Yamashita - USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Wild acquire Jacob Middleton from San Jose Sharks for Kaapo Kähkönen and late-round pick

The Minnesota Wild have followed up the acquisition of goaltender Marc-André Fleury by dealing for defenceman Jacob Middleton, sending Kaapo Kähkönen and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for his services.

Middleton, 26, has earned acclaim this season for his relatively strong defensive results in a middle-of-the-lineup role, playing mostly alongside Erik Karlsson at even strength. He's also chipped in with nine points in 45 contests this season for the Sharks playing about 19 minutes a night in all situations.

A real late-bloomer, Middleton only made it to the NHL in anything resembling a full-time capacity this season. The Sharks first added him to their organization as a CHL free agent, after the Los Angeles Kings let his negotiating rights expire; they originally drafted him 210th overall, in the seventh-round of the 2014 draft.

Middleton is a pending unrestricted free agent, making $725,000 against the cap for this season.

The Sharks, meanwhile, have done well to add to their stockpile of prime-age goaltenders, taking a roll of the dice on Kähkönen after he showed considerable promise in the AHL and held his own in a bit role for two seasons in the big leagues.

Kähkönen is a pending restricted free agent with arbitration eligibility, making $725,000 against the salary cap. The addition of Kähkönen to the Sharks crease brings their running total to three NHL goaltenders, and one has to imagine a James Reimer trade isn't far off in the distance.

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Minnesota Wild San Jose Sharks NHL Kaapo Kähkönen Jacob Middleton
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