NHL Insider: Be wary of trade rumors

  • Updated: February 3, 2014 - 7:20 AM

Wild content unless special deal arises.


Heard the Internet rumor the Wild was going to trade for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller? Forget it.

Photo: Gene J. Puskar • Associated Press,

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They say the NHL trade deadline in Canada is a national holiday, and it’s not far from the truth.

The national sports networks have wall-to-wall live coverage, and hockey-rabid fans soak in every moment.

Fans also love the month leading up to the trade deadline. They dive headfirst into blogs and Twitter feeds and eat up all the rumors involving their favorite teams. Everybody tries to identify the buyers and sellers, tries to figure out which players, usually those with expiring contracts at season’s end, can be had as “rentals.”

But here’s a word to the wise as the March 5 deadline approaches: Be cautious what you believe because it’s silly season on the Internet this time of year.

Last weekend, Wild fans got into a tizzy because it was reported the Wild made what any rational fan would understand was an irrational offer (allegedly involving a Wild blue-chip forward) for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.

The Wild brass doesn’t make a habit of debunking rumors and refuting reports, but they made clear this one was hogwash.

Miller is expected to seek a long-term deal worth $7 million annually as a free agent. It’s unlikely the Wild would sign any goaltender to such a price, especially one who will be 34 by next season. And if the Wild isn’t interested in re-signing him, it’s not about to throw a boatload of assets to rent Miller for the final six weeks of the season.

Would the Wild want Miller? Of course. But unless things go haywire before the trade deadline, it’s unlikely new Sabres GM Tim Murray, who, yes, is indeed pals with Fletcher and worked with him in Anaheim and Florida, looks to hit a grand slam with both Miller and free-agent-to-be Matt Moulson.

Regardless, with two games left before the Olympic break, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher says he’s going to be patient and try to ascertain during the next three weeks whether Josh Harding will be able to return.

If not, Fletcher, at least outwardly, says he’s comfortable continuing with a Darcy Kuemper-Niklas Backstrom tandem.

Fletcher would love to add another scorer or defenseman, but with so many buyers and so few sellers because so many teams are in the playoff hunt, Fletcher said prices are inflated.

Last season, the Wild traded a first-round pick, Matt Hackett and Johan Larsson to Buffalo for Jason Pominville. The Wild did so knowing it wanted to sign Pominville to a contract extension, something it achieved before this season. He’s currently the Wild’s leading goal scorer and his signing, although nobody would dare say it, sets the stage for the Wild pursuing former Gopher Thomas Vanek if he becomes a free agent July 1.

But Fletcher said: “It’s pretty hard to make those type of deals every year. It’s difficult to move multiple young assets every year at the trade deadline, otherwise you end up mortgaging your future. I’ll never say never because if an opportunity comes up that makes our team a whole bunch better, we’d look at it.

“But there is a breaking point how much you’re willing to pay [in terms of assets] for a rental.”

With the Olympic break, there will be a trade embargo Feb. 8-23. No team can resume practicing until Feb. 19, so the end of the freeze should give teams that want to pull the trigger in advance of the trade deadline time to integrate new players before the NHL season resumes.

The Wild held its pro scouting meetings late last month in South Florida. Fletcher said he’s trying to improve the team but is content if he can’t make a move or two. He did say prices are similar to last year, meaning any big move could cost another first-round pick.

“In a perfect world, I don’t want to trade first-round picks in consecutive years,” Fletcher said. “If opportunities come up, sometimes you have to do things, and this first round isn’t as deep and our scouts always seem to deliver no matter what picks I leave them with.

“But it would have to be something pretty special. I’d like our guys to have a first-rounder this year.”

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 51 3rd Qtr 3:43
Philadelphia 64
Portland 60 3rd Qtr 5:17
Cleveland 65
Sacramento 52 2nd Qtr 0:27
Toronto 54
Boston 22 2nd Qtr 12:00
Minnesota 26
Dallas 25 2nd Qtr
Houston 24
Denver 28 2nd Qtr
New Orleans 17
Brooklyn 23 1st Qtr 1:00
Atlanta 24
Oklahoma City 19 2nd Qtr
New York 20
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Washington 9:30 PM
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 20:00
New Jersey 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 6:48
Washington 1
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 68 2nd Half 8:01
UCF 35
Winthrop 52 2nd Half 9:08
Coastal Carolina 50
Lafayette 42 2nd Half 11:00
Colgate 45
Northeastern 43 2nd Half 6:12
Drexel 47
Wake Forest 52 2nd Half 9:39
Florida State 50
Rhode Island 44 2nd Half 10:40
Fordham 48
Delaware 71 2nd Half 3:31
James Madison 73
South Carolina 45 2nd Half 8:30
LSU 46
New Hampshire 42 2nd Half 8:28
Maine 34
Seton Hall 65 2nd Half 6:42
Marquette 50
Binghamton 33 2nd Half 15:00
American Univ 42 2nd Half 7:39
Navy 57
Elon 42 2nd Half 10:21
UNC-Wilmington 69
Wright State 47 2nd Half 10:13
Oakland 42
Minnesota 46 2nd Half 6:36
Penn State 49
Duquesne 41 2nd Half 7:30
Richmond 72
SMU 52 2nd Half 7:37
South Florida 40
Hartford 45 2nd Half 11:21
Stony Brook 40
Albany 31 2nd Half 9:00
Vermont 24
Hofstra 55 2nd Half 7:58
William & Mary 71
UNC-Asheville 46 2nd Half 13:00
Longwood 41
Radford 45 2nd Half
Char Southern 35
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 41 2nd Half 19:20
Notre Dame 39
Texas Tech 16 2nd Half 19:33
Oklahoma 37
Oregon State 18 1st Half 5:22
Arizona State 30
Morehead State 24 1st Half 6:51
Austin Peay 21
Drake 30 1st Half 7:22
Bradley 23
Lehigh 11 1st Half 9:24
Bucknell 13
Rice 13 1st Half 6:50
Houston 14
Missouri State 13 1st Half 8:03
Illinois State 14
Loyola-Chicago 9 1st Half 9:00
Wichita State 12
Nebraska Omaha 21 1st Half 7:40
South Dakota St 29
Northern Iowa 17 1st Half 5:31
Southern Ill 20
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Kansas 8:00 PM
Oregon 9:00 PM
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 49 2nd Half 9:13
Binghamton 42
Akron 48 2nd Half 7:48
Ohio U 58
Ball State 66 2nd Half 7:21
Miami-Ohio 44
Memphis 46 2nd Half 7:34
Cincinnati 35
East Carolina 23 2nd Half 11:47
(2) Connecticut 62
Murray State 56 2nd Half 3:21
Eastern Illinois 67
Kent State 53 2nd Half 4:54
Central Michigan 56
UT Martin 58 2nd Half 6:31
Tennessee St 45
Eastern Michigan 46 2nd Half 7:36
Western Mich 68
Bucknell 57 2nd Half 3:15
Lehigh 70
Indiana 47 2nd Half 6:18
Michigan State 69
Colgate 50 2nd Half 5:36
Lafayette 47
Fordham 63 2nd Half 1:56
Davidson 43
Duquesne 61 2nd Half 7:15
St Bonaventure 52
George Mason 45 2nd Half 7:50
VA Commonwealth 52
Detroit 48 2nd Half 3:55
Youngstown St 46
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 22 1st Half 7:08
Tulsa 20
Oklahoma St 11 1st Half 7:09
Kansas State 13
West Virginia 16 1st Half 6:41
Texas Tech 18
Denver 32 1st Half 6:20
South Dakota 29
Northwestern St 17 1st Half 4:16
Central Arkansas 18
Austin Peay 26 1st Half 3:26
SIU-Edwardsville 42
Kansas 15 1st Half 6:59
Iowa State 13
Bowling Green 10 1st Half 6:52
Northern Ill 23
Penn State 25 1st Half 7:11
Minnesota 19
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
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