Talking trade, draft
The Flyers have to dump salary now if they want to sign Hamhuis , so that’ll be a veteran. Now will it be center Jeff Carter , who many teams including the Wild covet, or will it be somebody like Simon Gagne or Daniel Briere or Matt Carle or even playoff stud Scottie Hartnell ? We will see this week.
Also, Preds GM David Poile has to be gearing up for something bigger. We will see, but the one thing about the Preds, they’ve got the reserve list (i.e. minor leaguers and prospects) to do something big. Great drafting, GMing there.
As for your Wild, GM Chuck Fletcher’s trying, but as he’s said repeatedly, he’s not going to make a splash just for the sake of making a splash. His next move has got to be the right move, which is why he’s also being so patient.
Just to give you an example, Florida GM Dale Tallon is aggressively shopping Nathan Horton around the league, including to the Wild. Horton will almost certainly be traded before his no-trade clause kicks in July 1.
If Fletcher wanted the goal scorer, he could probably get him and I’m sure he’s contemplated it. But since Horton’s got three years left at $4 million, $4.5 million and $5.5 million and the Wild needs a center more than a winger, Fletcher, I think, wants to be sure there are no other better moves to be made.
In other words, if the Wild doesn’t unload significant cap dollars, the Wild’s next move for that kind of salary could be its last for awhile. So you trade for Horton , and it could take the Wild out of other things this week, later in the summer or even a year from now. So he’s got to be sure the next trade is the perfect fit since it will inhibit him for some time in terms of salary-cap flexibility.
And again, while Horton surely would help the Wild’s top-6 if he gets back to being the talented 30-goal guy he is and rediscovers a love for the game that can sometimes be dissipated playing in Florida, the Wild really needs a center. I covered Horton down in Florida, and he’s definitely a winger in the NHL and I think feels the most comfortable on wing.
I’ll write more about free agency next week, but I’ve gotten lots of questions about whether the Wild is going to make a splash. Unless Fletcher dumps serious dollars this week, they just don’t have the salary-cap room to go after, say, an Ilya Kovalchuk . And quite frankly, until Mikko Koivu is inked to an extension, I just don’t see the Wild willing to commit long-term dollars to anybody unless it’s via trade where the salary cap is somewhat offset.
If the Wild can’t make any trades this week, it’ll have to be a little more active in the free-agent market than it wants to, but again, I’ll write after that after the draft and before free agency.