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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Eric Staal scored the game-winner and Devan Dubnyk made 17 of his 35 saves in the third period as the Wild held on to beat Toronto, 3-2.
Since coming to the Wild two years ago, Devan Dubnyk is 69-41-11 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and 14 shutouts in 125 games.
The Wild, which beat Edmonton in overtime on Sunday, looks to end the road trip on a winning note Wednesday against the Maple Leafs.
With an overtime win in Edmonton, the Wild improved to 1-1-2 on a five-game trip that ends Wednesday in Toronto.
The Wild will be looking for its first win of the road trip tonight in Edmonton.