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Wilderness Walk: Zucker Bait

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Where do Zucker and Fenton go from here, plus NHL news and notes

Minnesota Wild v Calgary Flames Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Hockey Wilderness has obtained an exclusive look at Paul Fenton’s 2019 bucket list. It reads, in part, as follows:

To Do in 2019

  • Trade Jason Zucker
  • Don’t screw up a first-round pick
  • Visit beautiful Sweden
  • Visit beautiful Bahamas
  • Visit beautiful Des Moines
  • Trade Jason Zucker
  • Learn Russian
  • Talk to Kirill Kaprizov
  • Work on tan
  • Trade Jason Zucker

Of course, this is tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly seems that moving Zucker is high on Fenton’s list of priorities. He’s 0-for-2 (that we know of) in closing the deal, and reportedly is still out there making inquiries.

Just imagine how awkward training camp will be (starting around September 12th) if Fenton continues to try... and be unsuccessful.

Zucker’s limited no-trade clause activates on July 1, meaning Fenton’s best window to move the 27-year-old left winger is at the NHL Draft on June 21 and 22. Everyone involved has been pretty quiet on the matter, but one can assume (and let’s face it, everyone has) that tensions are high. Fenton obviously wants to move him, and there are reports that there is interest among other NHL teams.

It’s an ugly mess, and it’s not clear that there’s a way back from this. Only time will tell. For all involved, June 21 can’t get here soon enough.

In the meantime, there is some high-flying and helmet-dislodgingly entertaining hockey being played between the Bruins and the Blues, draft and free agent speculation abounds, and a NHL coach hiring to talk about in the walk.

Wild News

Russo: Wild’s summer off to rocky start after Phil Kessel nixes Jason Zucker deal – The Athletic
Kessel's reluctance to come to Minnesota along with another public near-trade of Zucker have put the Wild in a precarious spot.

What's going on with Paul Fenton and Jason Zucker? - Bring Me The News
Will the Wild end up dealing Zucker?

Anaheim Ducks Should Trade for Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker is the latest player on the trade block, I think the Anaheim Ducks should make a pitch to the Minnesota Wild to acquire his services.

RandBall: Kessel's reported rejection of trade for Zucker saved Wild from bad deal - StarTribune.com
Phil Kessel reportedly shut down a potential trade to the Wild, one that would have sent Jason Zucker to the Penguins. Everything, except the end result, looks bad for the Wild.

Report: Phil Kessel quashed trade to Wild because they're bad
A potential trade between the Wild and Penguins reportedly involving Phil Kessel and Jason Zucker fell apart last week, according to multiple outlets. Now we know why.

#BecauseItsTheCup

Krug's old-school helmetless shift may be among NHL's last - StarTribune.com
Torey Krug worried afterward that his pregnant wife would not really like him flying down the ice and delivering a bone-jarring hit without a helmet on.

Unflappable Finn Rask the key to Bruins' Stanley Cup success - StarTribune.com
Tuukka Rask first caught coach Bruce Cassidy's attention as a hot-headed minor leaguer who was throwing milk crates onto the ice when things didn't go his way.

Blues must decline ticket to Bruins' Circus to win Game 2 - TheHockeyNews
No team does a better job baiting opponents into undisciplined chaos than the Bruins. The Blues became their latest victim in Game 1 of the final. How does St. Louis avoid getting sucked in next time?

Off the Trail

Edmonton Oilers opt for stability with the hiring of coach Dave Tippett - TheHockeyNews
The veteran bench boss was GM Ken Holland's leading candidate and after helping out with Seattle's new organization, Tippett is ready to get behind the bench. Find out what the Jack Adams Award winner brings to the Oilers' organization.

Bettman says NHL will consider expanding video review - StarTribune.com
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday the league will consider expanded video review after some high-profile missed calls during the playoffs.

Five extension-eligible veterans in line for big-money contracts this summer - TheHockeyNews
All eyes are on one of the best and brightest free agent crops in recent memory, but some of the summer's biggest signings could come by way of contract extensions for valuable veteran players who are one season away from hitting the open market.

Don't be surprised if Mitch Marner does some window shopping this offseason
Less than a year removed from the absolute circus that was the re-signing of William Nylander, fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs may have to go through it all again when their top scorer from last season becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.

Who are the top NHL restricted free agent centers available this summer? - TheHockeyNews
There might not be a lot of superstar centers on the restricted free-agent market this summer, but there are some dandy young pivots looking for new deals. Let's take a look at some of the best options (including one from the Wild).

Duhatschek: How the relationship between players and media has changed (mostly for the worse) in 40 years – The Athletic
How the relationship between media and players has changed (mostly for the worse) in the NHL over the past four decades.