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Wild will make more trades 'if there is quit,' GM says

Minnesota focused on playoffs after dealing Zucker to Penguins for Galchenyuk

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild's trade of forward Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft or 2021 NHL Draft on Monday was not a sign they are ready to give up on the season.

"I can promise you this. If there is quit, there will be more trades," Wild general manager Bill Guerin said Tuesday. "So I wholeheartedly expect this team to compete for a playoff spot. We're right there, and if there's any signs of anybody taking their foot off the gas, that will be an indication."

Galchenyuk was in the lineup when the Wild (27-23-6) defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday. Minnesota is four points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. 

Although Minnesota traded Zucker, a 28-year-old forward who has 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 45 games this season, and three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million, Guerin said the Wild are focused on the rest of this season and the future. 

"It's important that we got somebody back that could help us right now," Guerin said of Galchenyuk, a 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent who has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 46 games this season and 313 points (132 goals, 181 assists) in 536 NHL games with the Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens.

"For the players in the dressing room, just to have another guy coming back to be able to put in the lineup, a guy that has a history of scoring, that can help us, I think it's important for the camaraderie of the team and for their outlook.

"[This team has] got to be professionals. They have to show up and play tonight. This is part of the business, and I think maybe if we didn't get an established player back, then maybe that would be different, but Alex Galchenyuk, he's a kid that's had years in this league where he's scored a lot of goals. And I think he can help us. I think he can help us tonight. The players have been through this before. They understand this business. They understand that this happens. They're expected to just put their gear on and be ready to go."

Video: Breaking down the Zucker trade

Although Zucker had been the subject of rumors since last season, it was still a shock to his teammates that he was traded.

"There's always talk, but you never really believe it," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "Rumors, they're always rumors until something like that happens. … I know it's been hard the last year, year and half for [Zucker] just seeing his name always floated out there. I know for him it wasn't easy to play. He'll go [to Pittsburgh], he'll do well." 

Parise said the Wild players are aware of position they are in. 

"I think we're in that situation right now where we've got to win or there might be more of that happening," Parise said. "For us, as best as possible, you don't think about that. You just play and play our best and try to win the games.

The Wild didn't rule out making other moves.

"Hey, listen. I have to plan for anything," Guerin said. "If a deal makes sense, whether it's for future or whether it's for right now, if it's going to help us either way, we're going to have to weigh the pros and cons of going either direction. I felt that this deal did a little bit of both. It set us up for the future, and we got help for right now too.

"We know where we stand right now and what we need to address, and we'll keep working toward it. Like I said in the past, I'm not going to make trades just to try to make trades and fabricate something that's not good enough. If a deal makes sense, then we'll do it. If not, we'll be patient and we'll wait."

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