The Minnesota Wild have been quite aggressive in re-shaping their roster this season, which includes adding Marcus Johansson, Nick Bonino, Nick Bjugstadt and Cam Talbot, while also re-signing a number of key free agents and eliminating significant cap space. However, one move that hasn’t happened yet was the expected trade of defenseman Matt Dumba.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo (subscription required) writes that it might be a while before a trade for the blueliner is found. This is not the best time to find a trade partner with few teams ready to give Minnesota a significant return and a number of previously interested teams have already filled their need on defense. Russo suggests that one team that might still be interested is the Florida Panthers, who still need help on defense and have the prospects to make a deal happen.
Russo adds that he heard that Minnesota tried to pry Florida’s first-round pick from this year’s draft, who the Panthers used to select Anton Lundell, as part of a package for Dumba, which Florida rejected, but mainly because they wanted Lundell. Regardless, the Wild need to stay patient and hope it can find a match with Florida or any other team ready to get into the running.
- The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required) writes that Dallas Stars first-round pick Julius Honka, who didn’t sign as a restricted free-agent last summer and spent the season playing in Finland, is interested in returning to Dallas next season. The 24-year-old Honka’s rights are owned by the Stars until he turns 27, but despite demanding a trade last summer, he was forced to play in the Liiga and wasn’t necessarily a standout player there. Honka has played 87 career NHL games, but never was able to establish himself into the Stars’ defensive lineup. If he does opt to sign what would likely be a mininum-salaried deal, Honka would have to beat out a number of blueliners to get into the lineup, including Mark Pysyk, Taylor Fedun, Thomas Harley, Joel Hanley and Stephen Johns (assuming he returns to the team).
- Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater (subscription required) writes that if the NHL is required to set up divisional bubbles next season as it is starting to look more and more likely that getting fans in the stands is looking less and less likely, then Colorado could be a likely candidate to host teams. In fact, Dater writes that he’s heard that the Pepsi Center, the Avalanche’s arena, is a leading candidate to be a host-city if the NHL opts to go that route, although it’s too soon to make a decision.