Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher was expecting a quiet trade deadline day, but he was anything but quiet before the deadline struck at 2 p.m. Monday.
Fletcher pulled the trigger on a pair of trades:
- Traded defenseman Justin Falk and a fifth-round draft pick to Columbus for ex-Gopher Jordan Leopold
- Traded a future second-round draft pick to Buffalo for forward Chris Stewart
Leopold, the 2002 Hobey Baker winner, helped the Gophers win a national championship in 2002.
Stewart, 27, is considered a streaky scorer, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press. He has 11 goals and 14 assists this season. While his numbers are decent, the Buffalo Hockey Beat describes his play over the past 30 games as a "strong first-liner."
According to ESPN, Stewart found out about the trade while being interviewed on TSN.
"It's kind of been an emotional roller coaster," Stewart said. "It's hard not to get caught up in the distractions."
Fletcher happy with the roster
“I like the team. We have a good team,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said in an Sunday interview with the Star Tribune.
Good team? More like the best team in the NHL since trading for goalie Devan Dubnyk in January. The Wild are a league-best 15-3-2 since the move, and an impressive 13-2-1 since the All-Star break.
Fletcher added: “We took care of some of our needs during the summer, we’ve seen our young players continue to evolve and grow into quality NHL players. If we can add something that makes sense, we’ll look at it. But I’m very comfortable going forward with this team."
Fletcher pulled the trigger on a trade last week that sent a future draft pick to the Florida Panthers for veteran forward Sean Bergenheim, but according to the Pioneer Press, Fletcher was confident he was done making trades; that, clearly, wasn't the case.
Minnesota has charged up the Western Conference standings and currently sits in the first wild-card position (seventh). With 73 points and 20 games to go, the Wild are within striking distance of sixth-place Vancouver (75 points), fifth-place Winnipeg (76 points) and even fourth-place Chicago (79 points).
The Wild also have two games in hand on Winnipeg and one in hand on Chicago.