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Scoring a concern for Minnesota as Feb. 29 approaches

Wild NHL Trade Deadline outlook

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline approaching at 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 29, is taking a close look at what moves teams might be looking to make and whether they'll be buyers or sellers. Today, the Minnesota Wild:


Record: 23-21-10, 56 points; 6th in the Central Division; 3rd in Western Conference Wild Card

Unrestricted free agents: Niklas Backstrom, G; Ryan Carter, LW; Justin Fontaine, RW; Chris Porter, LW; Jarret Stoll, C

Restricted free agents: Matt Dumba, D; Tyler Graovac, C; Darcy Kuemper, G; Jason Zucker, LW

Projected 2016 draft picks: 5 (1 first)

Projected 2017 draft picks: 6 (1 first)

Needs: Depth at center, scoring punch

Surpluses: Young, controllable defensemen

Players Potentially in Play: Dumba, Zucker, Kuemper, Jonas Brodin (injured), Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter,

Likely status: Buyer

Skinny: The Wild are trying to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth consecutive season and get past the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for the first time after three straight postseason exits at the hands of their Central Division rivals. Minnesota could use scoring depth of any kind; the Wild rank 23rd in the NHL in goals (133), and their power play is 19th (17.9 percent). Scoring depth at center would be ideal. Granlund has been underwhelming on Minnesota's top line this season (five goals, including one into an empty net, since Nov. 21), and captain Mikko Koivu, who turns 33 on March 12, has seen his surprising early-season production slow. Charlie Coyle, who began the season at center, has been moved to right wing and likely will remain there. Minnesota was in the mix for Ryan Johansen before he was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Nashville Predators in January, but it couldn't match the offer of defenseman Seth Jones, who moved to Columbus for the 23-year-old center. Reports have connected Minnesota to Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin. Any trade the Wild may make likely will be a player-for-player exchange; they have already traded away their second-, third-, and fifth-round picks in the 2016 NHL Draft, as well as their second-round selection in the 2017 draft, making a trade for a rental more difficult.

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