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Todd Varga

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blog-0664027001330127161.jpgWild Musings- Reverse the Curse; the Deadline Cometh 2/24/2012

Hello, and Happy Friday everybody. Today the Wild are gearing up for the second day of a road back to back. They are coming off a shootout win in Sunrise against the Panthers, and are looking to sweep the trip with a win in Dallas. Tonight will be a crucial game for the wild’s playoff hopes. The Stars are sitting in 8th place, three points ahead of the Wild in 12th place. A regulation win for the Wild tonight would be huge. It puts them right behind Dallas, and in the thick of the battle for 8th. A loss, or even an OT win, is going to keep the Wild in this sort of trade deadline haze of whether to buy or sell.

With that said, I’d like to break down what the Wild may be willing to move at the trade deadline. The obvious place to start is with players who are going to be Unrestricted Free Agents on July 1st.

-Erik Christensen- The Wild just acquired Erik Christensen, and are not going to deal him. Christensen has been an interesting pick up for the Wild. He hasn’t really had an impact on the ice during regulation, or Overtime, but has been pretty invaluable in the shootout. He’s 2 for 3 in shootout attempts for Minnesota, and makes it look effortless. The guy has great hands, and great moves. He instantly injects some confidence into the Wild as they go into the shootout, which is an area they desperately needed help in. Hopefully as he plays more, he finds his game in the first 65 minutes of the game.

-Warren Peters- Peters has been a serviceable fourth line center for the Wild. He is a center with size, and some offensive talent and instincts. He has some good speed for his size, and is able to get pucks to the front of the net on rushes or off the boards. I don’t see any value in moving Peters, or any teams wanting him.

-Greg Zanon- This is a player I actually see having some value at the deadline. Zanon is a serviceable defenseman that can really help a team heading into the playoffs with depth on their blue line. Zanon is a shot blocking machine, and I could really see him being a good depth defenseman for a team heading into the playoffs. I also see him as a guy the Wild will move. He isn’t a player the Wild will be bringing back, so I could see them moving him for picks or prospects.

-Mike Lundin- Lundin has been somewhat forgettable for the Wild this season. He spent the first third of the year on IR, and has been a decent defenseman or a healthy scratch the rest of the year. I think he could be a good defenseman for a team in the playoffs, but I’m not sure he is someone teams are going to depend on, and I don’t see him fetching much in return.

-Clayton Stoner- Stoner is a young defenseman with size. He is currently on IR, and the Wild have had preliminary talks with him on a contract extension. I don’t see him going anywhere.

-Josh Harding- Here is the biggest chip the Wild have had all season that may not be worth anything anymore. If the Wild would have traded him when they were winning earlier in the year, when his numbers were robust and he was generating buzz, they probably could have acquired some real talent from a team in need of goaltending. Since December, the buzz about Hards has greatly died, and as of now I don’t see him being moved. With that said, Toronto and Ottawa have made it known they’re in the goalie market. Tampa Bay and Columbus could use an upgrade; Detroit may need a back up for Jimmy Howard, Chicago may look to upgrade, so Harding could be dealt. After hearing all that, he picked a very poor time to get sick and stay off the Wild road trip.

Now to add to all of that, we have the Marek Zidlicky cloud hanging over the Wild. I have no doubt that if he is not moved before the deadline, he will be dealt over the summer when his full no trade clause becomes limited. Zidlicky has shown signs of the offensive skills that make him valuable and still could be dealt before the deadline. The trick is finding a team he agrees to go to, due to his no trade clause.

It should be an interesting weekend by all accounts. I hope everyone enjoys the trade deadline buzz and all the coverage that goes along with it.

Have a good weekend everybody.

Todd Varga

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There is nothing wrong with having a shootout specialist on your roster. :)

If the Wild choose not to move one of their goaltenders, Harding will probably command a decent salary in the FA market this summer. Unless there is a team that would be assured they could sign him I really don't see him traded.

Lundin and Stoner will be with the Wild next season. And I'm not sure what will be the status with Zanon now that Zidlicky has been traded. Zanon becomes a FA this summer.......I guess it really depends if the Wild make the playoffs or not to determine Zanon's fate.

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