With the Wild having no intention of re-signing defenseman Greg Zanon after the season, it traded him to the Boston Bruins in advance of Monday's trade deadline for puck-moving blue-line prospect Steven Kampfer.
Kampfer, 23, was acquired by the Bruins two years ago at the trade deadline from the Anaheim Ducks. Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr was part of the Ducks scouting staff that drafted Kampfer in the fourth round in 2007.
The Ann Arbor, Mich., native and former Michigan Wolverine has only played 22 games this season between the Bruins and AHL Providence because of an injury and being Boston's seventh defenseman. He's scored 12 points in 48 NHL games and was almost a point-a-game defenseman for Providence last year in 22 games.
He will start off playing in Houston, the Wild's AHL affiliate, but with the Wild only carrying six defensemen, chances are he'll be promoted at some point.
"He's a young guy, he needs to play, let him get his confidence, get his game going and he can learn from there instead of just throwing him into the fire," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. "He's competitive. He's mobile. He can move the puck.
"We feel he has some upside and provides us some depth for this season and going forward hopefully can be a guy that can be part of our group."
The 31-year-old Zanon, a veteran shot-blocker and Fletcher's first free-agent acquisition from Nashville as Wild GM in 2009, scored four goals and 24 assists and was minus-17 in 202 games here.
"Physically competitive every night and gave us everything he had every game he played," Fletcher said.
Harding still here
Fletcher wouldn't divulge if he had any viable offers for backup goalie Josh Harding, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. A handful of teams at least inquired.
"Josh is somebody that can very well be part of our future going forward," Fletcher said. "He's a big part of our present. I wasn't looking to sell him. If there was ever a hockey trade that makes sense, you'd consider him.
"But we were not looking to just move Josh Harding or sell him. He's won a lot of hockey games for us. He's a young goalie and we haven't dismissed the idea of attempting to re-sign him for the future."
It would not be shocking if the Wild tries to sign Harding to another short-term deal.
• Brad Staubitz, acquired two summers ago from San Jose for a fifth-round pick, was claimed off re-entry waivers by Montreal. The Wild will pick up half his remaining salary and cap hit for the rest of the season.
• Captain Mikko Koivu, who has missed five games because of an undisclosed injury, didn't skate Monday. Coach Mike Yeo said he hopes to have more information in a couple of days.
• Fletcher said defenseman Clayton Stoner, who has missed 11 games because of a hip injury, might be able to return in two weeks.
• In paper transactions Monday, the Wild assigned and recalled Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser and Nick Palmieri to make them eligible to play for the Houston Aeros in the Calder Cup playoffs.
• Fletcher was miffed the Oilers announced the Nick Schultz-for-Tom Gilbert trade via Twitter 20 minutes before it was agreed upon. By the nick of time, Fletcher rushed from his office and was able to inform Schultz he had been traded before reporters could find him.