The direct line between the Wild and San Jose Sharks buzzed again Saturday night when the Wild shipped disappointing former first-round pick James Sheppard to Silicon Valley for a 2013 third-round pick.
Sheppard, 24, was suspended all of last season after breaking his kneecap in an all-terrain vehicle accident. Sheppard, a restricted free agent drafted ninth overall in 2006, had his qualifying offer expire when he didn’t sign a new contract by the July 15 deadline.
However, it’s believed the trade was on hold because just prior to that, Sheppard underwent a second operation on his knee. Sheppard is not expected to be ready in time for training camp.
Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant GM Brent Flahr couldn’t be reached for comment, but the Sharks confirmed the trade.
The move was the third of the offseason between the Wild and Sharks.
On June 24, Brent Burns and a 2012 second-round pick were traded to the Sharks for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick that became Zack Phillips. On July 3, the Wild acquired Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat.
Sheppard, who was rushed to the NHL from Cape Breton at age 19, scored 11 goals and 49 points in 224 games for the Wild. Of the seven players taken in 2006 by the Wild, only Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Medvec are still in the system.
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The decision was made in response to feedback the team received from a survey it sent to season ticket holders this summer.
The team's home opener is Oct. 15.
The Wild on Thursday signed defenseman Matt Dumba to a two-year, $5.1 million deal. The Wild now has no further unsigned players.
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