Making a deal before Monday's 2 p.m. NHL trade deadline isn't the only way the Wild can reshuffle its lineup the rest of the season.
Getting healthy would also bring in reinforcements, perhaps the more likely lift facing the team in an unusual trade market and one that could have an effect similar to an outside acquisition since the Wild has yet to be at full strength this year.
"We're real excited about that," coach Dean Evason said. "Obviously, you get your lineup back intact. We haven't seen it for a while."
Forwards Marcus Foligno, Nick Bjugstad and Kevin Fiala didn't play Saturday when the Wild dropped its second straight game to the Blues, a series that concludes Monday at Xcel Energy Center.
Foligno, who's missed the past 15 games with a lower-body injury, went to St. Louis and skated with the team as his recovery continues.
Bjugstad didn't go to St. Louis, sitting out with an upper-body injury from a fight last Monday with Colorado's Kyle Burroughs, and it's unclear how long he'll be out. Same with Fiala, who was a game-time decision Saturday before ultimately getting scratched with an upper-body injury.
Evason said he hoped Foligno can play Monday; if he does, the timing could not be much better.
Since Foligno was sidelined March 12, after taking a shot off the lower right leg, the Wild has been up and down, going 8-5-2.
That inconsistency was best captured last week, when the Wild followed up an 8-3 dusting of the Avalanche that tied the franchise record for goals with a 9-1 collapse to the Blues — the most lopsided loss in team history. The Wild cleaned up its act Saturday but was still upended 3-2 in overtime after surrendering the tying goal and winning goal in the final minutes of the third period and overtime, respectively.
Inserting Foligno into the lineup could bring more definition to the forward group and reinforce the Wild's urgency to wrap up the last month of the season with momentum.
"We can't have nights like [Friday] night and then nights like [Saturday]," goaltender Cam Talbot said. "If we can put a game on the ice like we did [Saturday] more often than not and be a little more consistent in that factor, I'd like to see us do that coming down the stretch and be more prepared coming into the playoffs."
Having everyone available for the first time this season could be the boost the Wild needs to stabilize its game.
While General Manager Bill Guerin is open to improving the Wild if the change makes sense, he's said he doesn't feel the need to "disrupt this group" and believes altering a team's chemistry "could be dangerous."
Add in a flat salary cap, the looming expansion draft for Seattle and other unique features to this year such as the quarantine requirement for players getting traded to Canada, and the Wild could easily let the deadline pass without making a move.
Regardless of what happens, the Wild has the chance to show a new iteration of itself over its final 16 regular-season games if it gets all hands on deck.
"Even though it's not a long season, it's a grind," Evason said. "There's bumps and bruises. Everybody has them. Yeah, we're looking forward to having everybody back."