Wild GM: Big trade would be spendy

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 21, 2012 - 12:02 AM

Chuck Fletcher is keeping his options open but knows the price will be high to acquire big-name players who aren't free agents.

PITTSBURGH - While Chuck Fletcher continues to talk trade with numerous teams, it appears nothing big was on the horizon as of Wednesday night.

"There's nothing out there I've seen where there's easy ways to get better," Fletcher, the Wild's general manager, said earlier this week. "There's ways of getting players and paying a big price, but I don't know if they make us better right now."

As the NHL draft approaches Friday and Saturday, a number of big names reportedly are on the market, including Columbus' Rick Nash, Anaheim's Bobby Ryan, Philadelphia's James van Riemsdyk, Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.

But Fletcher might not have the assets to trade for a top forward, especially since he says he's not looking to blow a hole through a prospect corps the Wild has suffered through hard times to accumulate.

One situation the Wild is undoubtedly keeping an eye on is Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal. He is a year away from free agency, and the Penguins are looking to extend his contract after July 1.

It might be difficult, especially since Pittsburgh also has to extend Sidney Crosby this summer and Staal might not want to be relegated to being a third-line center behind Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for his entire career.

If the Penguins start to shop him, the Wild would be extremely interested provided it knows he would re-sign in Minnesota. Coach Mike Yeo, a former Penguins assistant, is a huge fan of Staal, and Fletcher is Pittsburgh's former assistant GM.

Regardless, if Staal ever hits the trading block, Carolina would be the front-runner. Staal's brother, Eric, is the Hurricanes' captain.

Latendresse talks on tap

Fletcher expects to meet with agent Pat Brisson in Pittsburgh on Thursday to try to work out a contract for left winger Guillaume Latendresse, who was limited to 16 games last season because of a concussion and 27 games the past two seasons because of myriad injuries.

Latendresse was cleared by Wild doctors Tuesday. Fletcher doesn't anticipate any problems signing Latendresse, but the GM said it could stretch to July 1. If unsigned by July 1, Latendresse could become a free agent.

Falk deal near

Assistant GM Brent Flahr met Wednesday with the agents of Justin Falk, 23, who can become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He is expected to soon agree to a multi-year deal.

The mobile 6-5 defenseman has 12 points and is a minus-19 in 72 games over three seasons.

Etc.

• Center Cody Almond has left the Wild and signed to play with Servette in Geneva of the Swiss League through 2015.

The move surprised the Wild because Almond would require waivers to be sent to the minors next season, meaning if he didn't make the team in training camp, he would have a chance to be claimed by another team.

The 22-year-old 2007 fifth-round pick by the Wild scored one goal in 15 NHL games.

• The Wild agreed to terms with restricted free agents Chad Rau and Chay Genoway on contracts for next season.

• The NHL schedule will be released Thursday. The Wild opens at home Oct. 13 vs. Colorado.

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