Hard times

The Wild and others continue to talk to Tampa Bay, which had two scouts at Thursday’s Wild-Rangers game, about suspended forward Jonathan Drouin, but it would be awfully hard for a desperate team like Minnesota to trade for a guy that now hasn’t played in nearly three weeks.

The Wild needs someone that can help now. How does one give up a significant asset or two for a player that is working out on his own in Montreal? Drouin has chosen not to play in the AHL because he doesn’t want to risk getting hurt for a potential trade. He did so because he allegedly was told a trade was close, something Lightning GM Steve Yzerman denies. But it appears there’s no turning back now for the stubborn 20-year-old.

Trade talk

As the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches, all eyes are on Winnipeg, which has captain Andrew Ladd and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien as pending free agents.

The Jets lately have made a big push at trying to extend Big Buff’s contract. That could mean Ladd is on his way out. Florida makes sense. GM Dale Tallon had Ladd when he managed Chicago.

As for Byfuglien, he’d look awesome in a Wild sweater next season, but the only way that could happen is if he doesn’t re-sign in Winnipeg AND the Wild dumps a ton of salary/cap space this offseason.

True words

Columbus coach John Tortorella recently broke ribs in practice after a collision with Blue Jackets forward Rene Bourque.

“I think a number of players over the years wanted to take a run at me,” Tortorella quipped.