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Five players Wild could trade as they ‘tweak’ not-good-enough roster

No one other than Paul Fenton himself knows what the new general manager is going to do to remake the Minnesota Wild roster in the coming weeks.

Fenton, the third GM in franchise history, says he will “tweak” the current roster with the goal of getting the Wild over the hump before the start of next season, but that’s all he’s willing to reveal about his summer plans.

Still, it’s reasonable to think the Wild will make a splash at some point this offseason, especially considering owner Craig Leipold has said the roster needs a remake.

“I know we’re not good enough right now,” Leipold said after dismissing longtime GM Chuck Fletcher earlier this offseason. “I want someone to take a look at what we can do to tweak our team. This is not a rebuild.”

Because of that, it’s likely the Wild will be looking to move impact players for impact players, not impact players for future assets.

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have no-move clauses, but most of the rest of the Wild players do not, meaning they might be fair game should the right offer present itself.

NHL trades tend to happen around the draft, which starts Friday night in Dallas, or shortly before the start of free agency, which begins July 1. That means the next couple of weeks could be busy for Fenton and Co.

Here are five players who could be on the move:


Why he will be traded: He’s a restricted free agent in line for a big payday this summer. You have to take the bad with the good with Dumba, and if the Wild don’t want to commit to his polarizing play long term, it would make sense to trade him. His value is as high as it’s ever been coming off a career-high 50-point season, meaning Dumba could provide a big return if he’s dealt.

Why he won’t be traded: He’s a right-shot defenseman who provides as much offensive firepower as any blue liner in the league. And it finally looks as if the 23-year-old Dumba is starting to realize his potential, so now might be the worst time to trade him. Brent Burns seemed to become a star the minute the Wild traded him a few years back.


Why he will be traded: He is what he is at this point, a smooth-skating minutes eater who has never produced more than 25 points in a season. Will he ever be better than he is right now? Plus, the Wild could likely get a decent haul for Brodin, who was mentioned in some trades last offseason.

Why he won’t be traded: After trading Marco Scandella last summer, the Wild might be gun-shy to deal another young blue liner. That, coupled with the fact that the long-term health of Ryan Suter is in question, means a trade might not make sense now.


Why he will be traded: Like Dumba, Zucker is a restricted free agent in line for a big payday. He had 33 goals and 30 assists last season, and some teams might be willing to give up a lot for that kind of firepower. Also, the 26-year-old always seems to underperform in the postseason, most recently being shutout in a first-round series loss to Winnipeg.

Why he won’t be traded: He scored 30 goals last season and still hasn’t reached his full potential. Zucker might be the closest thing the Wild have to a true sniper. It’s also reasonable to assume Zucker might take less money this offseason if the organization can promise long-term security. He is married with two kids, and has no interest in leaving the Twin Cities at this point.


Why he will be traded: He boasts as much potential as anybody on the Wild frontline, so a team might be willing to give up a lot to bring him aboard. And Niederreiter is a natural right winger, a position of depth for the Wild.

Why he won’t be traded: He was never 100 percent healthy last season, constantly dealing with lower-body injuries, including a high ankle sprain and a broken fibula. Niederreiter rushed back from both injuries and never really looked like himself. Trading him could come back to bite the Wild if he returns to full form next season. He certainly has the potential to be a 30-goal scorer in the league.


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