Wild Trades: Will Minnesota Be Active in the Trade Market?

Nick MaxsonCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2010

DALLAS - JANUARY 18:  Marek Zidlicky #3 of the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center on January 18, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild may be in the position to become active in the trade market in the next coming weeks.

With nine unrestricted free agents, including Marek Zidlicky, Minnestoa may be looking for a spark to get into the playoffs.

It is no surprise that Toronto General Manager Brian Burke has been active, as he has already dealt for top players such as Dion Phanuef and J.S. Giguere.

Calgary, which started off strong and has been slipping, has also been shaking up the rosters, dealing not just Phanuef but Olli Jokinen as well, as he was sent to the Rangers along with Brandon Prust yesterday.

Is Minnesota in the right position to make a few roster moves to get into the playoffs?

It could very well be, but dont count on multiple trades as we have seen with the Maple Leafs and Flames.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher has already made two trades this season: one for Chuck Kobesew, who is likely out for the season with a leg injury, and most notably the trade for Guillaume Lantendresse from Montreal.

Fletcher also picked up Andrew Ebbett off waivers from Anaheim in another move that helped turn the team around from their miserable start in October.

With all three moves working so far for Minnesota, if the Wild see a trade that could work, who would it be?

Minnesota's unrestricted free agents include Eric Belanger, Derek Boogaard, Kim Johnsson, Marek Zidlicky, John Scott, and Shane Hnidy.

Petr Sykora and Craig Weller were also a part of that list, but both are either out of contract or have been traded.

If Minnesota is to make a move, it could most likely involve Eric Belanger, who is having a career year in points and could add to a team that needs speed and offense.

Derek Boogaard could also be trade bait, as some teams look to add size and strength to their lineups come playoff time.

As for restricted free agents, Minnesota has six, including goalie Josh Harding, James Sheppard, Guillaume Latendresse, Cal Clutterbuck, Anton Khudobin, and Danny Irmen.

It would not suprise many if Minnesota made a move, but it also would not surprise fans if they didn't.

However, over the past two seasons, the majority of trades has been done in the two days prior to the trade deadline, and it has been very active the last few years.

Toronto and Calgary needed a change to flip their struggling teams fate before it's too late, so it's no surprise they acted early.

It will be a pleasant waiting-game to see if Minnesota is a buyer or seller this season come March 3.