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Wilderness Walk: Trade and Travel

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Some lowkey trade rumors, Fletcher takes a trip to Russia, and power rankings aplenty in the Walk

NHL: JAN 02 Panthers at Wild

The Minnesota Wild’s GM Chuck Fletcher has gone to Russia and met with Kirill Kaprizov and Andrei Svetlakov as per Michael Russo and TSN’s Elliotte Friedman. That is good news, although no one should expect it to mean that the Wild will see those players joining the team anytime soon. At least it should help convince those players, especially Kaprizov, that the Wild are highly interested in seeing them make the jump to North America. If the Wild are looking to build their future team around the core of Joel Eriksson Ek, Luke Kunin, Jordan Greenway, and Kaprizov, then they need to do just about everything possible to help Kaprizov make the move over here. The KHL certainly isn’t going to do anything to help.

Also in today’s walk is an article about Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. The Canadiens are struggling and the Wild are listed as one of the possible trade partners with the Habs for the gifted forward. Of course the trade chip mentioned is Matt Dumba, which is likely a no go for the Wild. Dumba has been doing well and the Wild are thin on the right side. A straight up one-for-one trade might be considered a “good hockey trade” but undoubtedly the Canadiens will feel like they need more in return for Pacioretty. Keep your ears to the ground for any more substantial rumors about a possible deal, but for now score this rumor as unlikely.

Wild News

Who's the odd man out with Wild finally at full strength?
A couple days after Zach Parise made his highly anticipated season debut, Nino Niederreiter is slated to return from a lower-body injury during Thursday's game against the Buffalo Sabres. It will mark the first time this season the Wild will be at full strength, meaning coach Bruce Boudreau will now have some hard decisions to make on a nightly basis. It raises the question: Who's the odd man out?

REMINGTON: 40 Random Thoughts Wild vs Florida HC | Zone Coverage - Cold Omaha
Here we go again, as with every Minnesota Wild game I attend, I have thoughts: 1. I got a text from one Giles Ferrell offering tickets to the game Tuesday night

On Frozen Pond

Starting a college hockey program from scratch: Arizona State is trying to build a DI powerhouse | NCAA.com
Starting a college hockey program from scratch: How Arizona State looks in Year 3

2018 WJC: Despite past disappointments, Sweden believes this year can be different | The Hockey News
Sweden has been a round robin juggernaut for the past 11 years at the World Junior Championship, but have only one gold medal to show for it. The Swedes are putting past failures behind them, though, and believe this can be their year.

2018 World Juniors: Bellows finding another gear has been welcome surprise for USA | The Hockey News
A move to the WHL and into Team USA's leadership group has allowed Kieffer Bellows (#notLukeKunin) to take his game to another level, and it's paying off as the Americans are heading to the semifinal at the world juniors.

Off the Trail

31 Thoughts: NHL's trade market cracking open - Sportsnet.ca
In the first 2018 instalment of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman touches on the Max Pacioretty situation in Montreal, the NHL's trade market, Canada's Olympic team and much more.

Power Rankings: Golden Knights, Lightning battle for top spot to start second half | The Hockey News
The Golden Knights can't be stopped lately and that has them sitting atop this week's Power Rankings. Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers move in opposite directions.

NHL Power Rankings: Mid-Term Grades Edition - Sportsnet.ca
From A+ to F: In this week's NHL Power Rankings, we assign a grade for all 31 clubs at the halfway point of the season. Who's passing? Who's flunking?

Six potential trade destinations for the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty - Sportsnet.ca
As the Max Pacioretty trade rumours heat up, we take a look at a few potential landing spots and what those teams may have to give up for the sniper and Canadiens captain.

Another dreadful performance sees Oilers' season swirling the bowl - Sportsnet.ca
Slaughtered 5-0 by the Winnipeg Jets, then bludgeoned to the same 5-0 tune by the Los Angeles Kings – in consecutive home games – the Edmonton Oilers season is floundering this morning.

Ovechkin, McDavid, Subban, Stamkos voted NHL All-Star captains - Sportsnet.ca
After a month-long fan vote, the NHL has released each of the four captains for all-star weekend in Tampa Bay.

Brian Gionta's Last Hurrah at the 2018 Olympics
During the second intermission at the 2018 Winter Classic, Brian Gionta was introduced as the captain of the 2018 Men's Olympic Hockey roster. In a year where NHL players are barred from participating, Gionta will lead a team of youngsters and misfits onto the ice when the games commence in February.