With the April 3 trade deadline four weeks away, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is monitoring other teams while also working internally to determine whether he will try to sign any of his potential unrestricted or restricted free agents to extensions.
If unsigned, Matt Cullen, Niklas Backstrom and Pierre-Marc Bouchard can become completely free July 1 and are the type of players who playoff contenders typically pursue as “rentals” at the deadline. Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk can become restricted free agents.
Fletcher says he hasn’t talked to any of their agents about new deals.
“That’s not to say we won’t do something in the next few weeks, but right now we’re trying to get a sense of where everybody fits,” Fletcher said. “I’m curious to see how we play the next month.”
Entering Tuesday’s games, the No. 3 through No. 11 seeds in the West were separated by three points. If the Wild is still in the playoff race, the team would be less likely to trade a veteran such as Cullen or its No. 1 goalie, Backstrom.
“It’s great to have all these kids, but it’s still a hard league for 20- and 21-year-old kids,” Fletcher said, indicating he might be interested in re-signing Cullen and Backstrom, too.
With the standings so tight, Fletcher said: “How many buyers and sellers are there really going to be? It’s hard to find trade partners because everybody’s going to be in it for the most part. If you think about it, the trade deadline is going to be the 35- or 36-game mark. In a normal season, how many teams are out of it at the 35- or 36-game mark? I’ve been calling around just trying to get a handle on what teams are looking to do. I’ve received a lot of calls. All the conversations I’ve had have been in the context of hockey trades rather the [rentals].”
Wild GM ponders numerous trade deadline options
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Mar 6