What you see on the Wild is likely what you'll get for the rest of the season.
Don't expect any monumental Wild trades by the Feb. 26 deadline, especially if it means mortgaging any piece of the future just for the prayer of acquiring a player who could help Minnesota win a playoff round or two.
"None, guaranteed," Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough said. "I think the perfect example of why I won't do anything like that happened last year."
Risebrough is referring to the New York Islanders trading for Ryan Smyth, the Atlanta Thrashers for Keith Tkachuk and the Nashville Predators for Peter Forsberg.
Net worth? Two playoff wins ... total.
"Just shows you," Risebrough said. "I don't think the general manager's job is to get too creative sometimes. Just observe, and that observation is a very powerful observation, especially in an industry right now where development of younger players is at the forefront."
Now, that doesn't mean Risebrough won't tinker, but "it's certainly not going to be the assets of younger players that we believe are going to be impactful to the organization in the future," he said. "That includes draft picks, since those probably were the biggest commodities spent last year.
"I know the fans want their team to be competitive, but they also want their team to be competitive for a long time. Doing some of what those teams did can potentially put a team in a hole for a long time. We don't even know that hole yet because we haven't seen the byproduct. Three years from now, you might look at that first-round pick and say, 'I didn't know that pick could have been that guy.'"
Quite frankly, Risebrough's hands are tied when it comes to significant moves. He's not going to trade his younger players. He's not going to trade his core players. He probably wouldn't be able to trade players with long-term deals, such as Kim Johnsson and Mark Parrish. And even if he decided to trade a free-agent-to-be such as Pavol Demitra, what could he get?
That leaves fringe-player-for-fringe-player possibilities.
It's hard to make trades these days, but there's a misconception as to why, Risebrough said. Many of his colleagues have blamed the salary cap, but Risebrough said that's hogwash. He notes there are a lot fewer teams in cap trouble (less than $1 million under the $50.3 million cap) than last year at this time.
"The cap is a component, but a small component," Risebrough said.
Risebrough said it's difficult to make trades because GMs make it difficult.
• There are 116 of 690 players who have no-trade clauses (and 16 in the state of Pennsylvania, by the way): "That's more than one-seventh of the league," Risebrough said. "I don't see in the [collective bargaining agreement] a mandatory, 'When this player's this age, you give him a no-trade.'"
• There are loads of long-term contracts: "When we have contracts that are 10 years long, that's going to make it harder to trade," Risebrough said. "If we know players who don't have term are more tradeable, why do we sign more guys to term? If younger players and core players aren't tradeable, and you can't take on long-term contracts and there are so many guys with no-trade clauses, we just have fewer players to trade.
"I know my colleagues want to say it's the cap. It has nothing to do with the cap. It's how we, meaning GMs, have reacted to the cap."