It was almost unthinkable at the start of the season. It seemed unlikely when the Wild were cruising early in the season, and even less likely in December.
Then the calendar turned to January. The Wild suddenly couldn't score goals. They went on an eight game losing skid, fell out of playoff position, and eventually fired head coach Mike Yeo.
Now just over a week away from the NHL's Feb. 29 trade deadline, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has to decide if Minnesota will become buyers, sellers or stand pat at the deadline.
While he hasn't given any indication that Minnesota may become a seller, Fletcher was unable or unwilling to make a deal to help the Wild pull out of their 2016 tailspin.
Most statistical models give the Wild a 24-to-38 percent chance of making the playoffs and if Minnesota were to decide to sell off some of their veterans they could make a huge impact on the NHL trade market.
"As far-fetched as that strategy sounds, those five players are all between ages 31 and 33, and will only have diminished value to the Wild in the coming seasons, both in terms of on-ice performance and in trades. Freeing up some of their combined cap hit of $33.9 million next season in exchange for draft picks, prospects and usable talent could help the Wild re-align itself around younger players like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, all of whom are 23-years-old."
It would seem to be pretty unpopular for the Wild to start jettisoning veterans ahead of Sunday's Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium against the Blackhawks, but if things don't turnaround relatively quickly, some of those moves could start to happen as soon as next week.