The Minnesota Wild made the most noise this off season when they signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to enormous contracts. The deals made the Wild immediately better on paper and there was belief that the club would compete for the Northwest division title. Approaching the half way point of this shortened season, the Wild sit just three points out of the division but currently find themselves out of a playoff spot. So it’s hard to say whether Minnesota will be buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline which leads to the belief that the Wild likely won’t trade forward Matt Cullen.
According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Wild GM, Chuck Fletcher has little interest in trading Cullen prior to the trade deadline, regardless of where the Wild sit in the standings. Cullen is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and typically if a club turns into sellers, players like Cullen are the first to go in order to acquire some prospects and youth. That’s not exactly the case in Minnesota.
“His contract is up, but, we signed him as an unrestricted free agent and didn’t invest one of our draft choices in him. To me it doesn’t create any urgency to move expiring contracts for future considerations. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Referred to as the “ideal rental player” Cullen could become popular by April 3rd with clubs that are looking to bolster their lineup with a solid, two-way centerman. An attractive offer could make Fletcher at least ponder the idea, if not pull the trigger on a deal that is too tempting not to bite on.
By deflecting and downplaying any trade talk, Fletcher has allowed Cullen to focus on the task at hand and that is winning hockey games and getting the Wild into the playoffs. A task that won’t be so easy in the coming weeks if the Wild stumble.
On the season Cullen has scored 3 goals and added 9 assists in 21 games for the Wild. He’s also a plus-1 on a team that is offensively challenged many nights.