I don't like to dabble in the dark arts of trades. I hate it, actually. Can't stand the rumor sites, I can't stand the people that make up the rumors, and I can't stand the people who pay the idiots who make up the rumors.
I do however, know how to read. Make the jump, and let's take a peek at two things I noticed today. No rumors, I promise.
First off, I don't know what drew me in, but I was reading a post over at Canes Country about the possibility that it could be Matt Cullen's last game there. I know Cullen's name, because he is a Minnesota boy, but I know very little about him otherwise. But, I was drawn in nonetheless and in that post I see this:
According to this article in the Triangle Business Journal, Jim Rutherford is expecting to trade Cullen before the Olympic trade deadline, which is tomorrow at 3 p.m. That means that tonight's game could very well be Matt Cullen's swan song at the RBC, as a Hurricane anyway.
Followed by this:
On Tuesday night, there were scouts present in the press area representing Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Montreal, and Minnesota. Could Cullen be going home to finish the season with the Wild?
Cullen is their second line center. Something the Wild have needed for what? About ten years or so, now? I wasn't even going to mention it, except that I have looked at Cullen a few times while thinking about trade targets. Today I went so far as to look at the cap issues, and they definitely work. The Wild have about $1.4 million in remaining cap space (all numbers are unofficial), and Cullen has just under $894K remaining. So, they work.
Now, like I said, I wasn't even going to bring it up until Russo posted his latest rant from Vancouver. After reading about his bout with a snowstorm in slacks and loafers (really Russo?), he mentions this through his caffeine buzz:
The trade freeze begins at 2 p.m. CT Friday. Wild's looking for a centerman especially, and as I've written many times that won't be easy. There aren't many out there? Tomas Plekanec, perhaps. Matt Cullen? I'm not sure on that one; Chuck Fletcher had him in Florida and he didn't perform there. Mike Keenan was not a fan. I'm a fan though. Don't get too many better people than Matt Cullen.
Plekanec would be a god send for this team. I mean, who wants a 60-70 point center for $854K remaining salary? However, he is a UFA next season, and will command a big increase from his current $2.75 million cap hit. So, maybe not. The Habs and Wild have a good history with trades. The new GM in Montreal just traded for Dominic Moore, giving up a secnd round pick, so who knows. Maybe Fletch can swing a Shep for Plakanec deal.
However, Cullen is now mentioned as being most definitely being traded, Wild have a need, they have the space, and Russo says he is a good guy. I am liking the idea more and more.
So, Wilderness. What are you willing to part with for Cullen? Do you even want him around? He is getting up there at 34 years old, but that could also means he takes a bit of a salary cut to end his career at home. Thoughts?
Also... Russo mentioned this little gem:
If the Wild lose either of the last two games on this homestand, I personally think that could make up Fletcher's mind as far as whether this team can make the playoffs or not. I believe they're going to re-sign Marek Zidlicky during the Olympic break or right after. But even if the Wild can't re-sign Kim Johnsson, can they even trade him with a $1.055 million cap hit? I'm not too sure.
So... they are planning to re-sign Zidlicky. Ugh. I would rather have Johnsson at a discount, if possible. Please, Fletch?
Author's note. I have no inside information. I am not reporting any deal is in place. I am simply pointing out that there is an awful lot of chatter about Cullen, and the situation fits.