The Minnesota Wild finally ended the rumors and speculation on Wednesday, officially trading goaltender Dwayne Roloson to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2006.
Click here to read the press release
While Roloson had commented for more than a month that he expected to be traded, it became a near certainty last Friday when Manny Fernandez was re-signed to a three-year contract extension.
Fernandez seemingly won the competition between the two after winning 23 games (24 after Sunday’s win vs. Colorado) to Roloson’s six. The two had split the starting duties for the previous three seasons, and posting similar numbers along the way.
Both netminders starred at different times during the Wild’s playoff run in 2002-03, with Roloson winning the final three games of Minnesota’s seven-game playoff victory over the Vancouver Canucks. In 2003-04, Roloson had his best season, winning 19 games and posting a 1.88 goals against average. His .933 save percentage that season was the best in the NHL.
Fernandez’ breakout season made Roloson expendable, especially with the emergence of Josh Harding, currently with the Houston Aeros. Harding, the Wild’s second round draft pick (38th overall) in 2002, boasts a 27-8-0 record with a 2.64 goals against average.
Harding has not yet been called up, but you can bet the Wild won’t be going with video coordinator Ian Andersen as the next backup.
The deal gives Minnesota two first round picks in the 2006 Entry Draft. If the season ended today, the Wild would have the 13th and 18th overall picks.
The Wild and the Oilers will face each other four more times this season, including twice at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday and next Tuesday. Considering Roloson will likely be the number one starter for the Oilers, he could be facing his former team twice.
More coverage to follow…