Brian Rolston, former right winger of the Minnesota Wild, has been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In return, the Wild will get two conditional draft picks, one in 2009 and one in 2010.
Rolston was a steady force for the Wild in his three seasons with the club, acquiring 30 or more goals in each season, while missing only four regular season games in that span.
The Wild reached the postseason the last two seasons, losing in the first round each time. Rolston accumulated three goals in the 12 postseason games for the Wild.
The question now for the Wild is whether the young talent can step up to fill those skates voided by Rolston. It is safe to say that none of them will pose as big of a threat as Rolston's vicious slap shot.
This also puts more pressure on Marian Gaborik. This is now solely Gaborik's team, and if he stays healthy like he did last year, playing in his most games (77) since 2002-2003 (81), one would assume that this upcoming season will be his best of his career. Although, it will be hard to top this recent season, when Gaborik notched career highs in both goals (42) and assists (41).
Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire has persevered in the past with the Wild, and he should be able to persevere after this trade. This is the same coach that led the Wild, in their third season of existence, to the Western Conference Finals, only to be swept by the Ducks.
Lemaire is a genius, and it is likely that he has some tricks up his sleeve on how to make this team even better. With a strong focus on defense, goal-tending, and just enough offense, the Wild should be fine this upcoming season.
The Wild always seem to be competitive, and that shouldn't change, even without Rolston.