TORONTO -- Even though the Minnesota Wild doesn't have a first-round pick, general manager Chuck Fletcher said he isn't approaching the NHL Scouting Combine this week or the build-up to the 2013 NHL Draft any differently.
"You're always preparing because you never know what can happen between now and the draft," Fletcher told NHL.com. "Whether you make trades and maybe acquire an extra pick. Maybe you can package some picks and move up in the draft. We haven't focused on the top end of the draft as much, because realistically we're not going to pay to the price to get into that level. We're interviewing a lot of guys, as many as normal, and it's also a draft, too, with the depth of this draft, I think there's going to be a lot of variation on everyone's list between 15 and 40. And we expect at 46 to be looking at a player we have significantly higher than that on our list."
Fletcher said he wasn't sure if the opportunity would present itself to move up, but it's something he and his staff have discussed.
"We have two third-round picks and that's what we're talking about today," he said of potential trades. "You never know until the draft starts. Do you take a chance and keep your picks and get as many assets as you can? Or is this the year where you look to move some extra picks and try moving up into the late first or earlier in the second? I think at 46 we're certainly going to be looking at a player we'll be very happy with."
Fletcher said the NHL salary cap going down next season could make the trade market an active one.
"I think this year with the cap going from $70 million to [$64.3 million], there's going to be a lot of teams looking to do different things," he said. "There's going to be teams looking to pick up players at affordable prices and teams looking to manage their cap looking to move players. Whether draft picks are a part of that, they certainly can be. I think there will be a lot of activity and certainly a lot of communication."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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