The NHL trade deadline expired Monday without the Wild making a move, and that was the plan all along.
Tucked into a comfortable playoff position with a month to go in the regular season, the Wild will make its push by preserving a lineup that has been backed by elite goaltending, depth scoring and experienced defending in a transitional year for the franchise.
"We feel we can beat anybody," General Manager Bill Guerin said, "and we know anybody can beat us. It's just the way the league is set up, and it's good. If we just get into the playoffs, we can size up our opponent and go round by round.
The Wild also didn't have a ton of monetary flexibility, a reality many teams are facing with a flat salary cap.
Coming off another early postseason exit and after the roster was overhauled by the exodus of longtime players, the Wild could have been hobbled by growing pains this season.
Instead, the replacements have synced with the returnees to become one of the most competitive teams in the West Division at 24-13-3 while ranking third with 51 points.
Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen have formed one of the most efficient goaltending tandems in the NHL; Rookie of the Year favorite Kirill Kaprizov has been the poster boy of a rejuvenated offense; and the defense has remained a cornerstone.
Results like these can sometimes get rewarded with trade-deadline acquisitions, an investment that indicates win-now mode.
But with Guerin unwilling to part with either of the Wild's two 2021 first-round picks, draft capital that will continue to help his organizational makeover, Guerin showed his support by keeping the group intact — adding by not subtracting.
Guerin didn't get any calls on his pending unrestricted free agents, after making it clear to teams that if the Wild was in a playoff spot, he was going to "hang tight."
He also reinforced the lineup a long time ago, re-signing Marcus Foligno to a three-year, $9.3 million contract extension before the season and trading for veteran defenseman Ian Cole in January. Foligno was set to return to action Monday after missing 15 games with a broken ankle before the game against the Blues at Xcel Energy Center was postponed.
"For the long-term plan and quite frankly for short term, I think we're better off," Guerin said. "The day went slow exactly like we thought it would."
When the team will be busier is in the offseason.
The Wild not only will have to reassess its contingent of UFAs, among them Cole and forwards Nick Bonino, Marcus Johansson and Nick Bjugstad, but it also has the bulk of its young core (Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman) up for new contracts.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us," Guerin said. "I'm confident. A lot of these guys are [restricted free agents], some of them with rights [and] some of them without. We're gonna have to try and negotiate fair deals with these guys, and that's part of it. We'll have to get that done."
The roster that takes shape in the aftermath might get a different treatment at next season's trade deadline. But where the team is at right now in its life cycle is being mindful of the present and the future and building a bridge between the two that can lead the Wild to sustainable success.
"We're just not in a position right now to be using the assets that we have for rentals," Guerin said. "I think our day will come. But with how well our team's performed, the chemistry that we have on our team, I don't feel the need for it today.
"Our time will come where we do that, but today just wasn't the day."