With the trade deadline approaching on Feb. 26, we're taking a look back at some of the biggest trades in Minnesota Wild history. A year after adding high-priced forward Martin Hanzal at the deadline, will general manager Chuck Fletcher try to pull another stunner?
USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
June 12, 2000: 2000 3rd-round pick (F Joel Lundqvist), 2002 4th-round pick (D Aaron Rome) to the Dallas Stars for G Manny Fernandez and D Brad Lukowich
Fernandez played a few games here and there for the Dallas Stars in the mid-'90s, before taking over as Hall of Famer Ed Belfour's backup in 1999. The Stars shipped Fernandez to the expansion Wild after future starter Marty Turco took over the backup job a year later, jump-starting a solid, if uneven, six-year run with Minnesota. Fernandez rarely had the crease to himself, splitting time with Jamie McLennan, Dwayne Roloson and eventually Niklas Backstrom during his tenure, but he did produce one of the most thrilling moments in franchise history. Fernandez helped the Wild to a memorable series win over Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals, taking over for Roloson in Game 4 and finishing out the seven-game series.
June 27, 2009: 2009 1st-round pick (D Calvin de Haan) to the New York Islanders for 2009 1st-round pick (D Nick Leddy), 2009 3rd-round pick (G Matt Hackett), 2009 7th-round pick (F Erik Haula)
On paper this deal had the makings of a shrewd draft-day gamble: The Wild traded back just four spots, added extra picks, drafted local star Leddy in the first round and got Hackett, the top North American goalie in the draft, in the third. Unfortunately, all three pieces Minnesota ultimately received in this deal were eventually dealt elsewhere: Leddy went to Chicago and Hackett went to Buffalo, while Haula, who posted 42 goals and 89 points in four seasons with Minnesota, was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Meanwhile, de Haan set new career highs a year ago, but had season-ending shoulder surgery in December.
Feb. 12, 2010: D Kim Johnsson and D Nick Leddy to the Chicago Blackhawks for D Cam Barker
The Wild made a deal at the deadline in 2010, sending Leddy (then with the Gophers) and Johnsson (a pending free agent) to Chicago for Barker. Selected third overall in 2004, Barker was coming off a career season with the Blackhawks, while Leddy was an underperforming freshman at the University of Minnesota. They've since gone in opposite directions. Leddy won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2013, and is now in the third year of a seven-year, $38.5 million contract with the Islanders. Barker spent parts of two seasons with the Wild, bouncing around the AHL for a bit before relocating to the KHL.
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June 26, 2010: 2010 3rd-round pick (F Joe Basaraba) and 2010 4th-round pick (F Joonas Donskoi) to the Florida Panthers for 2010 2nd-round pick (F Jason Zucker)
The Wild whiffed on their first two second-round picks in 2010 (Brett Bulmer is in the ECHL, while Johan Larsson is in Buffalo) but they struck gold with the 59th pick after striking a draft-day deal with the Panthers. Zucker went pro after two strong seasons at the University of Denver and earned a full-time role with the Wild in 2013. Now 26, Zucker has two 20-goal seasons under his belt, and is on pace to score 30 for the first time. Meanwhile, Donskoi is in the midst of a respectable NHL career, while Basaraba now plays for the delightfully oddly named Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL.
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June 24, 2011: D Brent Burns and a 2012 2nd-round pick (F Pontus Aberg) to the San Jose Sharks for F Charlie Coyle, F Devin Setoguchi and 2011 1st-round pick (F Zack Philips)
Nearly seven years later, the Burns deal remains a difficult swap to get a handle on. The Wild dealt their star defenseman for a high-upside prospect in Coyle, an up-and-coming forward in Setoguchi and a first-round pick. Coyle, who had a career-high 56 points last season, has developed into a top-six forward with room to grow, but Setoguchi's play declined following a couple solid seasons with the Wild, while Philips never cracked the NHL. Burns became an all-world defenseman, and eventually commanded such a player's salary. One other key component to this trade which shouldn't be overlooked: it freed up major cap space for the Wild, who signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in free agency a year later, and have now made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons.
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July 3, 2011: F Martin Havlat to the San Jose Sharks for F Dany Heatley
The Wild swapped their big winger for one of the most prolific scorers of the era. Unfortunately, the deal led to disappointment for both teams. Once a reliable 20-goal scorer, Havlat was plagued by injuries in San Jose, eventually retiring after brief stints with the St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils. Heatley scored 24 goals in his first season with the Wild after scoring no fewer than 39 in five of the previous six seasons, but declined rapidly in the ensuing years. He left after three seasons in Minnesota, spending six games with the Anaheim Ducks before signing in Europe.
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April 3, 2013: G Matt Hackett, F Johan Larsson, 2013 1st-round pick (D Nikita Zadorov) and 2014 1st-round pick (F Vaclav Karabacek) to the Buffalo Sabres for F Jason Pominville and 2014 4th-round pick (Traded to Edmonton Oilers, D William Lagesson)
The Wild went all-in at the 2013 trade deadline, dealing a package that included a pair of first-round picks and their top goaltending prospect to the Sabres for Pominville. Then a two-time 30-goal scorer, Pominville failed to make much of an impact in his first season, as the Wild fell 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. The Wild eventually dealt his unwieldly contract -- it carries a $5.6 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause -- back to the Sabres. Larsson, Hackett and Karabecek have gone on to unremarkable pro careers thus far, while Zadorov has developed into a promising young defender.
USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
June 30, 2013: 2013 3rd-round pick (G Eamon McAdam) and F Cal Clutterbuck to the New York Islanders for F Nino Niederreiter
A fan favorite throughout his Wild career, Clutterbuck was a reliable, if unspectacular, player who hit more than he scored. General manager Chuck Fletcher managed to turn Clutterbuck's bottom-six production into Niederreiter, a disgruntled prospect taken No. 5 overall in 2010, who had a disastrous rookie season (one goal in 55 games) spent mostly on the fourth line. He was traded to the Wild following the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, and soon began to make good on his sky-high potential. Niederreiter has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, and is on pace to reach that milestone again in his age-25 season despite missing time due to injury. McAdam was assigned to the ECHL in January, and currently plays for the Worcester Railers.
Jan. 15, 2015: 2015 3rd-round pick (F Brendan Warren) to the Arizona Coyotes for G Devan Dubnyk
The Wild's goaltending situation was in flux heading into the 2014-15 season. Four goalies had logged significant minutes for the Wild the previous season, and the best of them, Josh Harding, would soon retire after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In last place in the Central Division and getting little from Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper, the Wild made a desperate gamble, dealing for Dubnyk and starting him the next day. He shut out the Sabres in his first start, leading Minnesota to the playoffs with a .936 save percentage and 1.78 goals-against average, while earning his first All-Star nod and finishing third in the Vezina Trophy voting. Minnesota re-signed Dubnyk to a six-year contract that same offseason. Now in his third season at the University of Michigan, Warren has 12 points in 30 games.
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March 2, 2015: 2017 2nd-round pick (G Ukko-Pekka Kuukkonen) to the Buffalo Sabres for F Chris Stewart
Another fan favorite, Stewart has been a reliable bottom-six presence in his second stint with the Wild. A deadline rental in 2015, Stewart had 11 points in 20 regular-season games and three points in seven playoff games before signing with the Ducks in free agency. He returned on a two-year, $12.3 million deal a year later to similar production. The jury's still out on Kuukkonen, who was last seen (in North America) during the World Junior Championship, where he posted a 3.13 GAA and a .878 save percentage in five games with Finland.
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Feb. 16, 2017: F Grayson Downing, 2017 1st-round pick (D Pierre-Olivier Joseph), 2018 2nd-round pick, 2019 4th-round pick (conditional) to the Arizona Coyotes for F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White and 2017 4th-round pick (F Mason Shaw)
We won't know the full details on this trade for a while yet, but at first glance, this wasn't the win the Wild were hoping for. The Wild once again attempted to go all-in at the deadline, acquiring Hanzal, one of the year's top targets, and White for a valuable package of picks and prospects. The 6-foot-6 center scored just one goal in the playoffs, as the Wild fell 4-1 in the first round to the St. Louis Blues, then signed a three-year, $14.25 million deal with the Dallas Stars in the offseason.
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June 21, 2017: F Alex Tuch to the Vegas Golden Knights for 2017 or 2018 conditional 3rd-round pick
The Wild were reportedly desperate to protect young defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba from the expansion draft. They paid a steep price to do it, convincing the Knights to take Haula in exchange for a Vegas-friendly deal on Tuch. The deal has worked out well for the Knights and their new forwards. Haula is in the midst of his first 20-goal season, while Tuch has 10 goals and 15 assists as a 21-year-old rookie. Minnesota's take out of this is still unknown as the Wild now own the Golden Knights' third-round pick in this year's draft.
June 30, 2017: D Marco Scandella, F Jason Pominville and 2018 4th-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for F Tyler Ennis, F Marcus Foligno and 2018 3rd-round pick
The Wild's latest deal with the Sabres was all about cap space. Ennis and Foligno have been capable role players for the Wild, but depth issues have caused problems for their defense in the absence of Scandella. Still, Fletcher cleared around $5 million in cap space, freeing up room for the Wild to sign key forwards Mikael Grandlund and Niederreiter to contract extensions.