Wild's Gaborik contemplating hip surgery

January, 1, 2009
CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Wild may not trade Marian Gaborik after all. That's because they may not get the chance.

Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday night that the off-injured star winger was contemplating hip surgery that would knock him out, if not for the rest of the regular season, then at least for a significant portion.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also reported the same news on its Web site on Thursday night.

We must stress that it's not a certainty. No doubt, the Wild doctors will also investigate all the possible options.

But judging from what we were hearing Thursday night, it sounds to us like Gaborik may very well go under the knife.

A call to his agent, Ron Salcer, was not returned Thursday night. The Wild did confirm the possibility of surgery when contacted by ESPN.com.

Surgery would kill his value on the NHL trade market. All of which sets up the possibility that Gaborik may simply walk away from Minnesota on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent with the Wild getting nothing in return for the Slovak star.

All would not be lost for the Wild, however. We have to think the team is thrilled Gaborik turned down their massive contract extension back as the start of the season -- believed to be around eight years and $8 million a season.

That's a huge amount of cash that remains in the Wild coffers. Not an insignificant point in today's economic environment.

Still, the Wild would have been better served to at least recoup some value from the asset. Maybe that'll still happen, but if there is hip surgery, we can't see why any NHL team would want to give up anything of substance for damaged goods. Or recently recovering damaged goods.

For Gaborik, being healthy for July 1 is obviously the key for his career. He'll no doubt get a big payoff that day. I'm sure the Wild will be thrilled for him.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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