Skip to main content

Do the Wild have another run in them or are they inching close to sell mode?

There's also trade speculation in the wake of the losing skid.
Bruce Boudreau

Six losses in their last seven games, including four straight defeats highlighted by a 7-3 shellacking at the hands of a healthy Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night, has sent the Minnesota Wild tumbling in the Western Conference playoff race. 

Entering play Wednesday, Minnesota is eight points behind Vancouver (54 points) and Winnipeg (54 points) in the wild-card race. 

Not only are the Wild – dead last in the Central Division – eight points out of it, they also have to jump three teams in front of them: Vegas (54 points), Nashville (49 points) and Chicago (48 points), not to mention San Jose (46 points) right there, too. 

"We've got a lot of individuals that have played a lot of years that have got a lot of pride. I would assume that they're going to be able to just say, 'OK, we've been stinky lately, let's get it back on top here,'" said coach Bruce Boudreau. "That's what we gotta do. We can't give up in Game 47. Then you're really in trouble." 

Perhaps more demoralizing than losing on the road to a recharged Penguins team is that the Wild are 1-3-1 in their last five home games. If there's a silver lining it's that Minnesota is historically very good at home, and they play their next seven games at Xcel Energy Center and 11 of 12 overall in St. Paul. 

Minnesota starts that stretch Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

It could be a defining stretch that finally reveals who the Wild are. Are they the team that was one of the worst in the league in October or the club that was one of the top team sin the NHL from early November to mid-December?

Right now, they're playing like the prior. 

Trade speculation

The Athletic's Michael Russo added some interesting nuggets in his gamer (paywall), saying Pittsburgh has shown interest in trading for Wild winger Jason Zucker, while Carolina likes defenseman Jonas Brodin. 

Added Russo about Wednesday's demoralizing loss: "This is also the type of loss that can signal the beginning of trade season."

When Russo starts typing sentences like that, everyone should pay attention because he's as locked in with the Wild and NHL as any reporter on the planet. 

Does Wild GM Bill Guerin consider Zucker to be part of the long-term fix, or does he think the value he can get in return for the 28-year-old is more valuable? Remember, Zucker was nearly traded to Pittsburgh last offseason, and he'd be a Penguin had Phil Kessel not blocked a trade to Minnesota. 

SportsNet's Rory Boylen also discussed Zucker among his list of 20 NHL trade candidates: 

"Nearly traded already to Calgary and Pittsburgh over the past year-plus, Zucker is again a candidate to move — and possibly even to the Penguins still, as they deal with the loss of Jake Guentzel to injury. With 12 goals and 24 points in 35 games, the 27-year-old Zucker’s scoring pace this season is rivalling his career best. Far from a rental, Zucker has another three years after 2019-20 on his contract with a $5.5 million cap hit, but he does have partial trade protection — he can submit a no-trade list of 10 teams."

The NHL trade deadline is Monday, Feb. 24. 

Next Up

JeronimoYanezBCA

Court: Ex-cop who fatally shot Philando Castile had teaching license wrongfully denied

The Court of Appeals sent the application back for reconsideration by the board.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 7.26.15 AM

Multiple crashes, spinouts in Twin Cities as snow falls Tuesday morning

The metro could get up to six inches of snow throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 5.39.25 PM

Couple critically injured in Kanabec County home attack identified

Jeff and Becky Ponto were found critically injured in their home Sunday morning.

police tape

Assault charges filed against Red Wing man shot by deputy

The reportedly suicidal man crashed his van into a power pole before he allegedly began chasing a deputy at the scene.

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.

ambulance

41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Related

Bruce Boudreau

Debate is on after questionable shootout goal in Wild-Rangers game

The Wild blew a two-goal lead in the third period leading to a shootout defeat.

Matt Dumba

It will be tough to replace Dumba, Brodin if Wild trade them

Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just ask Jason Zucker.

Wild's victory over Winnipeg was a blueprint to consistent winning

It all had all the ingredients the Wild need to keep winning.

Vincent Trocheck

Reports: Wild intrigued by Panthers center Vincent Trocheck

The NHL trade deadline is next Monday, Feb. 24.

Zach Parise

18 games to go and Wild have great shot to make the playoffs

Fans are going to get a kick of these Money Puck projections.

Minnesota Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau

GM Bill Guerin fired Boudreau Thursday morning.

Mikko Koivi, Kevin Fiala

Wild respond to Zucker trade with resounding win over Vegas

Kevin Fiala has five goals and five assists in his last five games.