NHL Insider: You can be plugged in, but still frozen out as trade deadline nears

  • Updated: March 1, 2014 - 6:37 PM

A writer needs more than an ear to the ice to decode trade-deadline rumblings.

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Look for the name of quirky Edmonton Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to be mentioned — in hushed tones or otherwise — in speculation as the Wild maneuvers toward next week’s trade deadline.

Photo: ANN HEISENFELT • Associated Press file,

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Chuck Fletcher wouldn’t let me borrow his cellphone.

Under the guise that mine was on the fritz, I asked the Wild general manager if I could quickly borrow his before Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Fletcher started laughing and offered me stale press box popcorn instead. He’s known me for 19 years, dating to the days he was a young assistant general manager for the Florida Panthers and I was a young cub reporter covering them for the Sun-Sentinel.

So, Fletcher wasn’t born yesterday.

But if I could just get a quick peek at Fletcher’s call log and e-mail inbox, it would make everything so much easier leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline.

I wouldn’t just assume that Fletcher’s talking daily with one of his closest friends, Tim Murray (the two worked together for years in Florida and Anaheim), who’s in his infancy as the Buffalo Sabres GM.

Murray showed Friday night that he is open for business when he traded goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to the Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, a prospect and two draft picks, including a 2015 first-rounder.

This came a few days after a press scrum in which Murray was so candid, you would have sworn it was actually his uncle, Senators GM Bryan Murray, talking.

Tim Murray showed Friday he’s willing to trade anybody and everybody. Next up will be Matt Moulson (Wild may have interest), and maybe even Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford.

Fletcher inquired about Miller, but the price was too high. Since rookie Darcy Kuemper looks capable of holding the No. 1 reins, Fletcher was unwilling to give up the farm.

But goaltending likely still will be a priority because, what if Kuemper gets hurt and the Wild is left with Backstrom, who is ailing because of an abdominal issue?

Murray is now trying to trade Halak to the Wild. He’s 28, in the last year of his contract and was 24-9-4 with the Blues with a 2.23 goals-against average. But some inside the Wild worry he was a product of the Blues’ stingy system and there’s a reason St. Louis felt Miller, not Halak, was the final piece of a Stanley Cup puzzle.

But if the price is right, Fletcher could pull the trigger.

The Wild has talked to New Jersey about future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, who might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota. Brodeur, who has two children at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, said after backstopping the Devils to a victory over the Islanders on Saturday that any team trading for him wouldn’t have to guarantee the No. 1 job. He just wants to play more than he does now.

The Wild has talked to Carolina about former Stanley Cup-winning goalie Cam Ward, sources say. But his exorbitant contact is an issue. Fletcher and Oilers GM Craig MacTavish were huddled during the second intermission of their game Thursday, and there’s little doubt eccentric goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, whom the Wild inquired about before he signed with Edmonton, has been offered.

The former No. 1 with Phoenix and Philadelphia could cost squat (probably a midround draft pick in what, by all accounts, is a terrible draft), too.

Florida’s Tim Thomas and Carolina’s Anton Khudobin, an ex-Wild, might also be on the block.

What else? The Islanders are working hard to trade Vanek. Since the Wild might pursue him this summer as a free agent, it’s likely the only way Fletcher takes a nibble is if GM Garth Snow’s asking price drops. Wild guess? He hasn’t called Columbus about Marian Gaborik.

Trade-deadline time is always fun, although rumors run so freely in today’s social media world, it’s hard to differentiate between truth, speculation and pure fiction.

The Wild could use a scorer, a defenseman and some goalie insurance. It can’t address every need in today’s cap world, though.

So which player is Minnesota closest to getting? It’d be a shot in the dark unless Fletcher would be so kind and hand over his cellphone.

NHL Short Takes

A gold medalist with a grudge?

Reports began to circulate last week that Tampa Bay Lightning veteran star Martin St. Louis had asked to be traded and the Lightning and New York Rangers were talking about a captain-for-captain (Ryan Callahan) swap.

Those reports were initially discounted until St. Louis held a press scrum, confirmed he had spoken to GM Steve Yzerman about his future and left it at that, refusing to refute the reports.

Speculation is that despite the Lightning being third in the East, St. Louis’ feelings were hurt by Yzerman not originally choosing him for the Canadian Olympic team (never mind that he eventually won gold as an injury replacement for Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos).

If true, St. Louis should grow up, especially with the Lightning third in the East and having a chance to do some damage in the playoffs.

Big buzz about Kesler

A day later, Quebec TV reporter Louis Jean reported that Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler has asked to be traded, something he categorically denied the next day. It certainly appears, though, that where there’s smoke there’s fire here.

If Kesler is on the block, 29 teams would have interest, although only a few would have a legitimate chance (Detroit, Columbus, Philadelphia?) and it would take a boatload to get him.

“Whether he wants to go or stay, he’s not going anywhere,” joked Roberto Luongo, who has wanted to be dealt for some time. “We all know how this script ends.”

He said it

Blues captain and U.S. Olympian David Backes, on whether Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo rubs his gold medal in his face: “He’ll be missing more than half a tooth.”

Wild's Week Ahead

Monday: vs. Calgary, 7 p.m. (FSN)
Saturday: at Dallas, 7:30 p.m. (FSN)

Player to watch:
Mike Cammalleri
The Flames veteran has scored 223 goals, so he could be on the move at Wednesday’s trade deadline to a team looking for offensive help.

VOICES
“No. Figured there’s enough here. I’ll grab one of them.”
Zach Parise when asked if he brought a stray dog home from Sochi like American teammates David Backes and T.J. Oshie.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 7 1st Qtr 1:29
San Francisco 0
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd 17:48
Nashville 0
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 16 1st Half 7:57
Western Mich 20
Marquette 10 1st Half 14:46
Georgia Tech 5
Stephen F Austin 0 1st Half 20:00
Prairie View 0
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 14 2nd Qtr 0:34
Texas A&M 7
(6) TCU 20 2nd Qtr 0:55
Texas 3
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 16 1st Half 3:37
Richmond 21
Oklahoma 11 1st Half 7:48
South Florida 19
Princeton 26 1st Half 7:16
Wake Forest 12
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
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