With the NHL’s 2013 trade deadline only two sleeps away, things are really starting to pick up. New names are finding their way to the market, deals are reportedly happening as you read this and believe it or not we’re still all talking about Roberto Luongo. If you ask me this whole Christmas thing is totally overrated. Just try telling me that if your team is a contender this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. Yeah, I’m talking to you especially Pittsburgh Penguins fans...
For every new name on the market, there is a new team working its way either in or out of the buyer and seller distinction. It’s like the old saying goes “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...to playoff contention” or something like that. There are so many moving parts at work here, and it becomes all the more difficult to keep track of them in a shortened 48-game season that’s moving a mile a minute. Doesn’t mean I can’t try though - and don’t think I won’t enjoy every minute of it. You can get in on the action too, with my series of deadline previews.
This one will center around a team that might not have anything left in the tank after making the two biggest moves in the offseason. If you guessed those two moves were signing Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, and that the team was the Minnesota Wild... Bingo. If you guessed the move would pay off with the Wild competing with the Canucks for the division lead in less than one year, I tip my hat to you.
With the Wild currently sitting in 3rd place, with the same 44 points Vancouver has (the Wild hold the tiebreaker) I expect them to be busy two days from now. Just not sure how busy. The salary cap is set to drop to $64M and the Wild already have so much invested in next year. This relegates them to only being in the market for rental players, which is all fine and dandy so long as they haven’t grown too attached to their extremely deep and talented prospect pool. That being said, sometimes all it takes is draft picks and the Wild have plenty of those. Time for a look at who those draft picks and or prospects might reel in for Minnesota.
Cal Clutterbuck: I highly doubt Clutterbuck will get moved at the deadline, but there is a small possibility it could happen. Clutterbuck is in the final year of his contract and apparently asking for a hefty raise. One so hefty that he might price himself out of Minnesota. They do have the luxury of rights to Clutterbuck as he’s set to become an RFA, but maybe they use him in a package to help with their secondary scoring. His size and hitting ability would be wanted by about 30 teams in this league.
Derek Roy: I’ve heard absolutely nothing to indicate the Wild are even remotely interested in Roy, but if they did acquire him it would be a good fit. At the very least in the short term. They could move Mikael Granlund to the third or send him down while getting a clear cut second liner to anchor, well, their second line.
Ron Hainsey: The perfect rental player, almost built to play in the Western Conference. A minute munching defensemen that would allow Brodin, Suter and Gilbert to put more emphasis on their offensive game. A great stay at home rental type, that would go a long way in extending the Wild’s shortened season.
You can follow J.D. Burke for more hockey commentary, stats, tweets, etc. @WeveGotTwins and find his blog at We've Got Twins