NHL Trade Rumors: Moore, Ruutu and Other Candidates in a Marek Zidlicky Trade

Tom SchreierCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2012

NHL Trade Rumors: Moore, Ruutu and Other Candidates in a Marek Zidlicky Trade

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    It’s no secret, defenseman Marek Zidlicky wants out of Minnesota.

    “I can’t be quiet,” Zidlicky told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

    “I think three games healthy scratch, it’s more than just like a healthy scratch.

    "[Yeo’s] put me in this position that I am in right now. It’s not easy for me.”

    Safe to say, Wild head coach Mike Yeo was not pleased about the way that Zidlicky handled the situation.

    “One thing for sure, we’re going to talk,” he told Russo.

    “This is not the right way to handle it.”

    Zidlicky, 35, said that Yeo is trying to change his game.

    “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t my style,” said the veteran defenseman of his role.

    “I tried to explain it to him a couple times, but he wants something different.”

    Yeo insisted he’s not trying to change the way Zidlicky or any of his players play.

    “I don’t want him to change,” said Yeo. “I don’t ask Cal Clutterbuck to change. I don’t ask Matt Cullen to change. I don’t ask Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, any of these guys.

    “I don’t ask Marek Zidlicky to change either. I want them to be themselves, to play their game, but to do it within the team concept.”

    Ostensibly, Zidlicky has one foot out the door in Minnesota.

    The Wild’s defensive corps is coming together nicely. If they deal Zidlicky, they should be aiming for a forward that can provide solid offense and pitch in on the defensive end.

    The following are five players purportedly on the trading block that would be a great fit in the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

5. Jeff Carter

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    Pros:

    The former 46-goal scorer (2008-09) is in his prime, 27, and could galvanize Minnesota’s anemic 28th -ranked offense.

    Cons:

    His contract. Carter’s 11-year, $58 million deal kicked in this year and contains a no-trade clause.

    Columbus has a heavy payroll and nobody’s position with the team is secure after this abysmal season.

    Said Carter: “With the way the season has gone—the injuries, the standings, and stuff—I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anybody on our team if they end up (in rumors).”

    It’s a big gamble for Carter, but he’s young and had three straight 30-goal seasons in Philadelphia before being shipped to Columbus.

    Carter is known as a clubhouse cancer, but so was Heatley and we haven’t heard much about him this season.

    It’s big-risk, big-reward scenario with Carter, but for a franchise that needs a shot in the arm after three playoff-less seasons, it’s time to bring in a young, proven scorer—if, of course, Carter is willing to waive his no-trade clause.

4. Ales Hemsky

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    Pros:

    The Wild are familiar with Hemsky’s ability and could unearth the latent talent he’s had since being drafted 13th  overall in 2001.

    Cons:

    He’s talented, but he only has four goals this season and has never scored 25 goals in his career.

    The Oilers will be sellers at the deadline and Hemsky, an unrestricted free agent next season, has been identified as a possible trade candidate.

    The Czech-born Hemsky may not be as talented as Carter, but he comes with a lower price tag and the team can let him walk at the end of the season if he doesn’t pan out.

3. Travis Moen

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    Pros:

    He’s got playoff experience, 68 games with the Ducks, Sharks and Canadiens, and plays a strong two-way game.

    Cons:

    He’s older, 29, and has never been a proven scorer in the league.

    The Wild are in need of a playoff appearance and would do well for themselves by rattling or, God forbid, defeating their first-round opponent.

    Moen has been there, done that when it comes to the playoffs, and he's played in a defensive system in Montreal for the past three seasons.

    His game would dovetail with the team.

2. Tuomo Ruutu

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    Pros:

    The former first-round pick has proven to be a scorer in the past and has a style of play that would fit nicely within Yeo’s system.

    Cons:

    Ruutu has never really been a premier scorer. His career high is 26 goals in 2008-09 and he had 57 points in 2010-11. However, currently he has 15 goals (26 points) in 52 games this season.

    Ruutu knows he’s on the trading block.

    “I’ve heard rumors I’m going to every team in the NHL,” the forward told the Charlotte Observer. “I must be playing really well.”

    The Finnish forward has been playing well and would be a great fit in Minnesota.

1. Dominic Moore

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    Pros:

    He’s proven that he can score (18 goals last season), is inexpensive ($1.1 million) and played for the Wild before (2006-08).

    Cons:

    Everybody wants him.

    It is unclear whether the Lightning will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. The next few games will determine that, but if GM Steve Yzerman decides to cash it in and build for the future, Moore will be a hot commodity.

    Moore’s game would fit in with Yeo’s system and he’s a playoff veteran (41 games).

    The Wild would be smart to pursue this guy.

    Tom Schreier covers hockey and baseball for Bleacher Report.

    Follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.