Twice now in the span of a few months the Minnesota Wild have come close to trading away Jason Zucker. Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) examines the recent trade talks between Minnesota and the Pittsburgh Penguins which were focused on a Zucker-Phil Kessel swap, and details the situation that the Wild forward now finds himself in. Zucker is obviously on the block as GM Paul Fenton continues to shake things up in Minnesota, and Russo reports that the Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have all expressed interest of late, while last year the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes had discussed him.
The recent trade proposal from Pittsburgh seems to have been shut down by Kessel himself, but that could change at any minute if he decides to waive his no-trade clause. Either way, it seems like Zucker is destined to play for another team in 2019-20. The 27-year old forward has four years remaining on his current deal which carries a $5.5MM cap hit, and is coming off a 21-goal, 42-point season.
- Danis Zaripov was once on the radar of NHL teams after receiving a two-year doping ban from the KHL in 2017. That ban was eventually reduced to just six months and Zaripov stayed in Russia, something he’ll be doing once again in 2019-20. The 38-year old forward has signed a one-year extension with Ak Bars Kazan, giving him a chance to add to his outstanding history in the KHL. Zaripov is a legend in Russian hockey, with five Gagarin Cup championships, five World Championship medals, and even a league title from before the KHL formed a decade ago.
- Vince Dunn took part in the morning skate for the St. Louis Blues today, wearing a regular visor instead of the full cage that he has donned the last few days to protect his injured jaw. Still, he won’t play tonight in game one of the Stanley Cup Final according to head coach Craig Berube. Dunn has developed into a key part of the Blues’ defense corps over the last two seasons, and has an impressive seven points in 16 playoff games so far. Robert Thomas, another young player making an impact for the Blues these playoffs will be in the lineup tonight, Berube confirmed.