Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild trade deadline chatter

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild pregame skate, Wild trade news Updated: February 28, 2011 - 10:11 AM

Morning from an empty press box high above the empty ice at Xcel Energy Center. Wanted to check in, but follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/russostrib for instantaneous news.

The Wild's war room, which is about 200-300 yards from where I'm sitting, is up and running. I plan on delivering donuts around noon. Manipulative, I know, but you're talking to somebody who once held on to a team executive's sports coat as ransom for a scoop, which I did get, by the way.

Chatter:

--I hear the price for marginal centers is "stupid" right now, but the price often comes down at about 1:50 p.m., so we'll see if the Wild can upgrade its depth at center with Mikko Koivu still sidelined. I would imagine the Wild would have interest in Jason Arnott if the price isn't "stupid." Remember, the Wild's not trading its first-round pick and doesn't own a second-round pick, at least in the 2011 draft.

--Zenon Konopka, the NHL's penalty-minute leader at 225 and fifth-leading drawman at 57%+, is available. I don't know this for a fact (just throwing this out there based on last year's history), but the Wild may have interest. They could use a center AND the Wild almost traded Derek Boogaard to Tampa for Konopka and a draft pick at last year's deadline. But it fell through at the last second, I was told, because Tampa no longer owned the pick it was trying to trade to Minnesota. That was since denied to me by people in Tampa but confirmed to me by multiple sources from Minnesota and the NHL level. Regardless of what happened, the Wild had interest in Konopka previously and he's available now. He can win a draw, he's tough, he's a team guy, he's a PK guy. But he is a fourth-liner on the Islanders.

Fighter, yes, but if this trade was made, Konopka is not Chris Simon despite it being the same team. Konopka would play for the Wild. Simon did not and basically was scratched in the '08 playoffs by Jacques Lemaire. 

--I'm told Marty Reasoner from Florida gets traded today. I don't sense a ton of interest from Minnesota, but I'm a fan. Fast, faceoffs, character, penalty kill.

--The Wild has long been interested in Stephen Weiss, but I don't see them giving up all the pieces it would take to get Weiss, at least, today. In the future, maybe. But today, I don't see it. But the Wild likes Weiss a lot. Chuck Fletcher was in Florida when he was drafted.

--Chuck Kobasew is in play if the price is right. Atlanta is one team I thought would make sense because it needed a top-nine winger and Kobasew played for coach Craig Ramsay in Boston. But the Thrashers just traded for Radek Dvorak, the Florida speedster and all-around awesome dude, in a package that included Niclas Bergfors, whom Rick Dudley had been trying to trade for some time. He was offered to the Wild a gazillion times, and there was no interest at all.

So I'm thinking Kobasew and Atlanta are no longer a match. As I wrote somewhere the other day, Carolina has long had interest in Kobasew ever since he was taken one slot ahead of the Hurricanes wanting to take him in the 2001 draft. Vancouver may have interest, but would the Wild trade him inside its division when it has to face Vancouver three more times and potentially in the first round of the playoffs?

--I don't see Dustin Penner being moved to the Wild today despite the Wild, at least at one point recently, showing interest.

--TSN report says Brad Richards will only waive his Dallas no-trade to go to the Rangers. The price is astronomical, so why would the Rangers do that now when Richards basically just told them he'd sign there for no assets given up as a free agent July 1?

 

 

 

-- Contrary to a few sites I've seen this morning, the Wild's in 7th in the conference, not 9th or 10th. As long as they've played the same amount of games or less than the team's they're tied with, they'll almost always have the first tiebreaker based on non-shootout wins.

Don't know why this is suddenly bold and won't un-bold, so I'll wrap up. More later, follow me on Twitter at russostrib and I'll be on 1500 ESPN tonight at 6.

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