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Fletcher Likes Wild's Depth After Deadline Day

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

The Wild made three moves on Monday prior to the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, acquiring forward David Jones from the Calgary Flames in exchange for goalie Niklas Backstrom.

Minnesota also added minor league forward Scott Sabourin from the Los Angeles Kings, and minor league defenseman Conor Allen from the Ottawa Senators, sending forwards Brett Sutter and Michael Kernanen the other way.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher said the Wild's play over the past three weeks, which he feels has improved, coupled with Minnesota getting healthier impacted his approach to the deadline. 

"It's affected it greatly," Fletcher said. "We certainly looked at a lot of different things today, and there were a lot of moves we looked at that we didn't really feel made our team better."

Minnesota returned Zach Parise to the lineup on Sunday after he missed two games with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Jonas Brodin, who has missed the past 11 games with a broken foot, is probable to play on Tuesday.

Forward Jason Zucker, who has missed the past four games with a concussion, is expected back by Thurday.

"We'll probably have 14 healthy forwards going into tomorrow," Fletcher said. "It creates competition. Some players, there will be a little bit of urgency to play well every night or you know there are two guys that can come in and take your spots.

"I wanted to give the coaches some versatility in terms of lineup options, give them some depth, and create some competition."

In Jones, the Wild acquired a forward with nearly 450 games of NHL experience on his resume, and over 100 career goals. He had consecutive 20-plus goal seasons from 2010-2012 for the Colorado Avalanche, and adds more depth to the Wild's forward group.

"David brings really good experience to our team, he has good size, … so he’s a player that brings versatility, and he can move up down the lineup," Fletcher said. "When you look at our team, we’re 15, 16 deep at forward. We have a lot of different options that our coaching staff can look at. So I’m excited to see what we can do the last 19 games here."

With the Wild trailing the Colorado Avalanche by two points for the second wild card spot into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, getting Brodin back, in a sense, was a big deadline addition.

"We really missed Brodin, particularly on the penalty kill," Fletcher said. "He's an elite defender.

"We have some guys that are very good offensively, but Brodin is arguably our top defender. He's a guy who, like Suter, like Spurgeon, can log those big minutes, and hopefully bring another dimension to the penalty kill. We've missed him the last few weeks, and now we have much better depth back there."

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