Over the past few years the Minnesota Wild have not been afraid of the blockbuster move.
They've traded for Dany Heatley, signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in free agency, and traded for Jason Pominville at last year's trade deadline. The result has been one of the largest payrolls in the NHL, but a rather mediocre product on the ice.
That's the problem with investing such a huge portion of your salary cap space in free agents and players closing in on their 30s -- they cost a ton, limit your ability to add depth elsewhere, and have probably already played their best hockey.
They're in a pretty good position for a playoff spot heading toward the 2014 trade deadline and should once again be buyers. Is there another blockbuster on the horizon?
Jaroslav Halak an option?
Initially this space was going to be dedicated to the possibility of a Ryan Miller trade, but then he went to the St. Louis Blues and made it all irrelevant. But there still might be a match between Minnesota and Buffalo for a goalie, and it could be the guy the Sabres received from St. Louis in the Miller deal: Jaroslav Halak.
It seems likely that the Sabres will try to move Halak, an unrestricted free agent after the season, for even more assets prior to the trade deadline. The Wild could be an option. With Josh Harding on injured reserve since Jan. 1 and Niklas Backstrom declining rapidly, the Wild have been relying on Darcy Kuemper in net. He's played well, but Minnesota might want another reliable veteran option to go along with him. If nothing else, the possibility of a St. Louis-Minnesota first-round matchup with Halak facing his former team would be quite intriguing.
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Brodeur as a backup?
Martin Brodeur's future in New Jersey seems to be in doubt, and while it seems unlikely that the Devils would actually trade him unless the future Hall of Famer asked for it, the potential is certainly there now that Cory Schneider is establishing himself as the clear No. 1.
But if the Wild were confident in Kuemper continuing to get the bulk of the playing time, Brodeur could be a cheaper depth option than giving in to Buffalo's asking price for Halak. The Wild were reportedly scouting the Devils. Brodeur is done as an effective starter, or even as a platoon player in a 50/50 split, but he might still have something to offer as a backup.
Plenty to offer
If the Wild do want to go all-in on another major trade they certainly have some young pieces that could be of interest. Mikael Granlund should be off the table, but youngsters like Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle or Justin Fontaine could be attractive trade chips to a seller looking to get younger.