NASHVILLE – Part of being a pro athlete is finding a way to overcome the distraction of seeing and hearing your name in trade rumors.
For the first time, Wild defensemen Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin are living this.
With the Wild slumping with 29 goals (including four empty-netters) in 15 games, including none the past two nights, many around the NHL are expecting the team to make a trade.
General Manager Chuck Fletcher, who just completed scouting meetings in Florida, said before Saturday night’s 3-0 loss to Nashville that nothing is imminent.
“You can’t overreact and force trades,” Fletcher said by phone as he drove to Des Moines to watch the Iowa Wild. “You do that, and that’s when you can turn a small slump into a bigger problem. If something’s there that makes you better, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing well or struggling, you’re going to make a move. When you start to force trades, that’s dangerous and when you make poor decisions.
“Time will tell. We’re not going to make a trade for the sake of making a trade. But if we can make a trade that helps our team, we’ll trade anybody, whether they’re young or old.”
While coach Mike Yeo said it’s imperative that the team doesn’t sit around waiting for outside help, he did say: “There’s no question you get three young defensemen [Dumba, Brodin and Marco Scandella] that are reading the paper and they’re looking at the fact that they might be getting traded or at least they’re reading that that’s a possibility, and that’s a distraction. But when we talk about the journey at the end of the year, those teams that are in the playoffs, you have to get through tough times, you have to be able to fight through distractions.”
The Star Tribune reported last week that the Wild offered Brodin in a package to Columbus for Ryan Johansen before he was dealt to Nashville and that Dumba’s name has come up in talks with Tampa Bay about Jonathan Drouin.
Fletcher has said multiple times that the Wild’s abundance of blue-line depth organizationally could lead to a trade for an offensive forward, particularly a center.
“From a player’s standpoint, there’s no reason to waste your energy thinking about that,” Zach Parise said. “If we wait for something to happen, in the meantime we’re going to lose our next seven games. And then what? We can’t sit here and hope and be concerned and wait for outside help. That’s not up to us. That’s up to Chuck.”
Asked if he felt the Wild needed a shot in the arm, Yeo said: “No. I just think that we need to play. When we’ve been on top of our game, we were one of the higher-scoring teams in the league.”
Veteran Jason Pominville has no points in 12 games since Dec. 22. He is on pace for a career-worst nine goals and 34 points.
“Right now I feel like I’m playing better,” he said. “I just haven’t really had any luck with me scoring or guys scoring, but I like my game better now than I did maybe at the start of the year. It’ll come if I keep working and playing the way I have lately.”
Defenseman Mike Reilly, scratched Friday against Winnipeg, returned to the lineup as Yeo went with seven defensemen. Center Erik Haula, who turned the puck over en route to the game’s only goal, was scratched.
Winger Ryan Carter missed his third consecutive game because of a hand injury.