It remains unclear if the Wild will add to its roster ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline, which hits at 2 p.m. local time Monday, but the team will have flexibility to maneuver after placing veteran winger Chris Stewart on waivers Sunday.
A number of scenarios could stem from this decision; Stewart could get claimed by another team – a definite possibility since his experience, depth scoring ability and playoff history could be enticing to a club in contention (especially since it wouldn’t have to send an asset to the Wild to complete the acquisition).
If Stewart clears, the Wild could still work to facilitate a trade – which it did try to pursue to no avail before putting Stewart on waivers. The team could also keep him on the roster or assign him to the American Hockey League, which would open up cap space and give Stewart the opportunity to play regular minutes since he’s been a frequent healthy scratch with the Wild; this also keeps him in the system as insurance.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen yet,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Nothing might happen. But I think doing this, if someone picked him up, it would give him an opportunity to play a lot more, I think. If it doesn’t, who knows. You don’t have to send him down.”
This move, which – again – could create cap space for the Wild, is not related to a specific trade the Wild is pursuing, but it does give the team options. Aside from potentially brokering a trade before the deadline, the team could usher in change from within: by calling up a player from the minors like forward Luke Kunin or eventually bringing prospect Jordan Greenway in the mix if he turns pro after concluding his college career.
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Tyler Ennis-Joel Eriksson Ek-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Matt Cullen-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler-Jared Spurgeon
Mike Reilly-Nate Prosser
6-1-2: The Wild’s record in its last nine games.
46: Points on home ice for the Wild.
4: Consecutive wins by the Wild over the Sharks.
17: Faceoff wins for new Sharks forward Eric Fehr in 20 tries in his last two games.
23: Even-strength goals for the Sharks in their last eight games.
About the Sharks:
San Jose’s hold on a division berth in the Pacific is slipping, as it’s just one point ahead of No.3 Calgary and Anaheim – which has the second wild-card spot. The team has dropped two straight and sits 1-2 on its four-game road trip. Defenseman Brent Burns has a team-high 51 points, while center Logan Couture’s 25 goals pace the Sharks. Since Jan. 1, the team ranks third in the NHL in even-strength goals (63). Goalie Martin Jones has been solid of late, posting a 1.89 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in his last 10 games.