Sabres all over Minnesota
The Wild, the hottest team in the NHL at 7-1-2 in its past 10 games, made a big deal to get forward Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from Buffalo to help a run to the playoffs.
The Sabres are in an rebuilding mode as the headlines in Buffalo read “Sabres continue extreme makeover” and “Sabres’ situation is as clear as mud.” They wanted to acquire draft picks, and they received two future second-rounders from the Wild.
Meanwhile, a lesser-known deal for the Sabres was their acquiring of Gophers freshman Hudson Fasching, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round last year.
Sabres GM Tim Murray said of the 18-year-old Fasching, who is third on the Gophers in scoring with 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points: “He’s a guy that we’ve liked, that I’ve liked for a long time. He has a chance to be a top-six forward if he develops properly.”
•The one free agent you would think the Vikings will try to sign is Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who was coached by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer last year. The word is the two had a great relationship. Johnson is rated the fifth-best free agent available by a good judge of talent in Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk. … The eighth-rated free agent, according to Wilkening, is former Gophers receiver Eric Decker, whom the Vikings would have to outbid a number of teams to sign. Wilkening ranks Jared Allen 16th and Everson Griffen 19th.
• NFL.com wrote about sleepers for the draft and had Gophers safety Brock Vereen listed. “Vereen, the younger brother of Patriots RB Shane Vereen, is turning heads with his athleticism,” wrote Charles Davis. “His versatility is helping his stock — I think he’s fast enough to play corner (he ran a 4.47 40, fastest of all the safeties, at the combine) and has the frame for it at 6-0, 199.”
• Gophers baseball pitching coach Todd Oakes was nominated by the Minnesota chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a candidate for its Man of the Year fundraising campaign. Oakes was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is now in complete remission. He will be fundraising until May 16. Fans can donate online or at the game against Nebraska on April 12. Meanwhile his son, T.J., a former Gopher, is in the Rockies organization and was 9-8 with a 4.31 ERA over 144 innings at Class A last year.
• Another former Gophers golfer is on the NGA Tour in Clayton Rask, a former All-Big Ten first-team pick and a four-year letterwinner.
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