Wild GM ponders numerous trade deadline options

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 6, 2013 - 1:02 PM

– With the April 3 trade deadline four weeks away, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is monitoring other teams while also working internally to determine whether he will try to sign any of his potential unrestricted or restricted free agents to extensions.

If unsigned, Matt Cullen, Niklas Backstrom and Pierre-Marc Bouchard can become completely free July 1 and are the type of players who playoff contenders typically pursue as “rentals” at the deadline. Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk can become restricted free agents.

Fletcher says he hasn’t talked to any of their agents about new deals.

“That’s not to say we won’t do something in the next few weeks, but right now we’re trying to get a sense of where everybody fits,” Fletcher said. “I’m curious to see how we play the next month.”

Entering Tuesday’s games, the No. 3 through No. 11 seeds in the West were separated by three points. If the Wild is still in the playoff race, the team would be less likely to trade a veteran such as Cullen or its No. 1 goalie, Backstrom.

“It’s great to have all these kids, but it’s still a hard league for 20- and 21-year-old kids,” Fletcher said, indicating he might be interested in re-signing Cullen and Backstrom, too.

With the standings so tight, Fletcher said: “How many buyers and sellers are there really going to be? It’s hard to find trade partners because everybody’s going to be in it for the most part. If you think about it, the trade deadline is going to be the 35- or 36-game mark. In a normal season, how many teams are out of it at the 35- or 36-game mark? I’ve been calling around just trying to get a handle on what teams are looking to do. I’ve received a lot of calls. All the conversations I’ve had have been in the context of hockey trades rather the [rentals].”

Harding improves

Goalie Josh Harding hasn’t started since coach Mike Yeo pulled him with a 2-1 first-period deficit Jan. 30 against Chicago. Sidelined while he tries to get a handle on treatment for multiple sclerosis, Harding is “feeling a lot better,” Fletcher said.

“Now it’s a question of getting back to strenuous physical activity, then getting back on the ice and seeing from there. Doctors are very confident we’ll get to a spot where he’s going to feel very good most days.”

The Wild is considering flipping backup goalies by sending Darcy Kuemper back to Houston and recalling Matt Hackett, who is 5-3 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .938 save percentage since Kuemper’s Feb. 12 call-up.

“Darcy’s earned the right to be here and playing very well, but so is Hack and we want to make sure we don’t hurt Darcy’s development [by not playing him],” Fletcher said.

Illegal move?

At a charity game during the lockout in Chicago, Blackhawks wing Patrick Kane said he and Backstrom laughed about last year’s shootout move in which a super-slow Kane beat Backstrom after several little dekes.

He scored on a similar move against Detroit’s Jimmy Howard on Sunday, but Kane said: “I liked the Minnesota one better. … I’ve seen guys come in kind of slow, but not to the effect that I’ve done it where you’re almost at a standstill. … I did it to [Vancouver’s] Cory Schneider during the lockout [in Switzerland] and he said, ‘It should be illegal.’ ”

Backstrom denied Kane’s similar attempt Jan. 30.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close