It is a well known fact that the Wild are going to pursue Zach Parise in free agency. What sometimes isn't very well known, is that he is probably the only free agent forward the franchise has interest in. Much has been made from comments on this site and from Russo's blog that if the Wild fail to land Parise, Fletch will make a trade for that sniper this team has lacked since a certain groin left town. My question, will he really be able to land anyone worthwhile?
Let's first make a quick list of true snipers in this league and a little blurb on each (I apologize in advance for probably forgetting someone here). Also, I am looking for TRUE snipers, not so much power forwards. With Lats possibly returning and Coyle coming soon hopefully, this team may not lack power forwards. What they do lack are true snipers. Heatley was supposed to be one but it looks like age is catching up to him. Setoguchi can probably be one but only if he has far better talent around him. On to the list:
First the guys who are not even close to available and even if they were, we don't have what would be needed to make this trade happen.
Next are the players that are available that we would never ever want:
Next are the players that are free agents currently:
Alex Semin - no thanks
Zach Parise - I'm hesitant to even include him in this post, he isn't so much a sniper as he just has tremendous drive and net presence
Finally, the players that are probably available in some way shape or form:
Phil Kessel - He will probably never live up to the hype and will probably never be a great two-way player, but he scores a lot of goals and is probably capable of scoring more if he ever had a real center. The real question here is if Brian Burke would ever part with him because of the deal he made with the Bruins and because he is an American in Toronto.
Matt Moulson - All this guy does is score goals. Of course, he didn't start doing that until he played with John Tavares and he is going to be 30 next year already. Also, dealing with Garth Snow is not always fun.
Patrick Sharp - Long coveted by the Wild, Sharp is a great two-way player with a great shot. He would look great on this team.
Jarome Iginla - Always in the trade rumors, maybe he finally gets moved, it is really all up to him so he will get to pick where he goes. I doubt he would want to come to Minnesota, and given his age, we shouldn't want him.
Bobby Ryan - Another guy always in the trade rumors it seems. It is going to take a lot to land him, do the Wild have the pieces and if they do, should they give up a lot for him?
Patrick Marleau - It appears his time in San Jose is coming to a close. He is on the wrong side of 30 and his drive has always been questioned. He really didn't start to put up great numbers until he was paired with Thornton, kind of like another player the Wild already have. He is a great skater though especially given his age.
Rick Nash - Nathan will slaughter me for this, but I am not a fan of this guy so it is a good thing we don't have what it takes to land him and he doesn't want to come here.
Thomas Vanek - Big cap hit but the kind of player the Wild lacks. I have no idea if he is available or not, but it seems like he could be, but what would be the cost and do the Wild have what is needed to land him.
Marian Hossa - I wasn't sure where to put Hossa on this list. He seems to be working out in Chicago but I think they may trade any of their forwards save Toews if it means getting some quality depth to get back into cup contention. I don't think we can offer what Chicago needs though.
I have deliberately left off players such as Patrick Kane, Evander Kane, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, etc. Some of these guys are playmakers or power forwards, I don't think they qualify in the pure sniper we are seeking. I also left off guys like Jordan Staal, Andrew Ladd and Ryan Kesler. These guys are quality players, they score some goals, get some assists, bring a lot of intangibles, but they aren't snipers. I wouldn't mind any of them on my team, but that is for another post.
To me, there are obvious players that are probably available like Ryan, Nash and Marleau. Nash doesn't want to come here and I don't believe we have the pieces to land Ryan (a ready player now plus good prospects). I could see Fletch trading for Marleau but why would we want another aging, under performing Shark?
To sum it all up, I don't think it is as easy as people seem to think. I don't think if we miss out on Parise that Fletch can just make a trade and remedy the issue. There aren't many real snipers in this league and the few that exist would be very expensive to trade for. Do we want to give up our prospects that were so hard to get in the first place? I do think if any of these guys are available, Fletch will make a call about them. I don't want to see us trade for another potential scorer like Setoguchi either. I wouldn't mind adding a do-it-all player like Jordan Staal depending on the cost. But when all is said and done, I just think it will be too expensive to make any impactful trade this summer.