Will injuries to the Minnesota Wild's lineup force a trade?
Not immediately, but maybe before March 2.
The hope right now is that Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine step up in bigger roles to fill the void left to the Wild's forward corps, while general manager Chuck Fletcher works the phones between now and March 2.
"Every time you have injuries, you can’t just run out to the market and pull the trigger to fill the hole that’s been created," Fletcher told ESPN.com Thursday. "Sometimes you can do it, but you can’t go out and force things. The first look always has to be inside your group and hopefully there’s opportunity there for players to either move up in the lineup or players to get called up and play. You can’t always look to the outside."
No question Fletcher will work the phones, he was planning on doing that again Thursday after hanging up with yours truly, and perhaps something materializes.
The thing is, the Wild have traded away draft picks and young assets the past few seasons, and they can’t keep doing that every year. That’s why Fletcher, it’s believed, didn’t want to part with his second-round pick last month in a potential trade with the Buffalo Sabres for Jhonas Enroth. Instead, he dealt a third-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Devan Dubnyk, a decision that’s been nothing but spectacular so far given the new goalie’s rock-solid play.
The Wild don’t have a second-round pick in 2016 (it was dealt in the Matt Moulson deal last season), so keeping this June’s second-rounder seems very important to Minnesota.
Never say never. Obviously if there’s a deal that warrants trading the pick, I’m sure Fletcher will look at it, but I think he really wants to keep it.
He will have to find a way to pick up depth up front using other methods between now and March 2.