For the Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild jerseys,never before has the road to the Stanley Cup finals looked as clear as it does today.
Wild jerseys GM Chuck Fletcher will probably hate me for writing that. But it’s the truth. His team, led by coach cheap Bruce Boudreau jersey, is firing on all cylinders. This Wild jerseys squad is, for my money, the truest version of a Cup contender we’ve seen in Minnesota since the NHL returned to the Twin Cities 17 years ago.
And so the debate, internally, as the March 1 trade deadline approaches, is whether the Wild jerseys should make any moves. Should Minnesota be aggressive on the trade front? Or, on the other hand, does a team this deep and talented even need a big fix?
“It’s just hard to make hockey trades. You’re always looking at them, but none of us have enough depth. So, if we’re making a trade, inevitably we’re pulling from one area to fill another,” said Fletcher when we caught up during All Star weekend in Los Angeles. “And so probably the easiest approach is to look at a rental type scenario where we can augment our forward group or find a way to add a little more depth without taking from our current group. That would be the ideal plan.”
Having said that, Fletcher added that injuries and team/individual player performance over the next three weeks will also influence his trade deadline plan.
“We think we have good depth; we like our team; and we feel we can compete with most teams in this league,” the Wild jerseys GM said. “But things change, and we’ll have to stay on top of it and see if any trends develop over the next month from an injury or performance perspective that would change our thinking.”
One thing that won’t change is Fletcher’s desire to keep his defensive depth. When fully healthy, the Wild jerseys are six deep, with as solid a group of blueliners as you’ll find around the league. The problem is, they can’t protect them all in the June expansion draft. But that’s an issue Fletcher said he’ll deal with after the season.
He needs his blue line depth now for a playoff run.
“Right now [Jonas] Brodinis out,” Fletcher said of his talented young blueliner who is recovering from a broken finger. “Had you traded a D and then got an injury, now that depth is decimated and you’re thin. Never say never, if something makes sense. There are ways to make a trade bigger to protect against that type of scenario, where you can add to your depth, too. But it’s difficult in this environment, between the cap and everyone wholesale nhl jerseys still in [the playoff hunt]. It’s hard to make these trades during the season. We’ll keep looking at it, but I think the simplest thing will be to look at a rental type scenario.”
My suspicion is that Fletcher would ideally like to add a defensive center who can fill a bottom six role and win key faceoffs. Pending unrestricted free agent center cheap Martin Hanzal jersey of theArizona Coyotes jerseyswould be the more extravagant example of that player available on the trade market. But, given the price tag Arizona has for Hanzal, I don’t think the Wild jerseys are going to get a bite unless said price comes down.
A lesser name might end up filling the void in that defensive role, and normally that kind of guy isn’t terribly hard to find around the deadline. A guy such asColorado Avalanche jerseysveterancheap John Mitchell jersey, another pending UFA, is a good example of someone who could fit the bill for the Wild jerseys.
Could something bigger also be brewing? I think, as Fletcher said, that depends on what transpires on the ice over the next three or four weeks. For now, the Wild jerseys GM isn’t feeling it at the moment.