Let’s say if Gaborik returns to action in the next few days. If you are Risebrough, will you trade him to the Canucks for Ohlund before he gets injured again??
I mean, playing the devil’s advocate for a second here, if Gaborik insists on staying off the ice until the trade deadline, the Wild can do nothing but to watch him walk. And like my earlier posts, not a lot of teams are capable or willing to take him (injury-prone and cap-issue). Why not trade him for a top-2-D UFA, and then try to negotiate a contract with the D-man during the remaining of the season.
Everyone knows that Gaborik doesn’t want to re-sign with the Wild. He might be happy to be re-united with his pal Demitra in a town where they are embracing high-speed offensive game. A talk with him may “suddenly” heal his injury to a point where he can be dressed and traded.
For the Canucks, we trade away our best defenseman, for another UFA, but this one has a big chance of re-signing with the team. This is, of course, not to say Ohlund doesn’t want to sign back, but it will be a huge raise, and during the process of negotiation (which has not happened, at least not officially), he might decide to try the open market.
Afterall, if Bieska returns soon, we kind-of can afford losing a D-man. But think of the calibre of the player we get in return. We will immediately become a Cup-favorite. Afterall, no-one has really seen Gaborik in an open-free-style type of team before. At least he thinks he can do much better, if he was allowed to play a more offensive game.
As for the Wild, I think their best chance for trading an impending-UFA is for another UFA, since both teams don’t really lose out a lot. But are there any good forwards out there willing to sign back with a defensive team like the Wild if they are an UFA by season end? So it just makes more sense to trade for a D-man. With Ohlund, a PP-specialist and puck-moving defenseman, if they can convince him to sign a contract, who knows? Maybe they can trade him for a much better forward come next season?
I mean, rivalry aside, the Wild is doing fine without Gaborik, right? To add a D-man like Ohlund can only make the team harder to play against. Risebrough knows that! Of course, by giving their division rivals a player like Gaborik is a bold move, but what choices do they really have?
So I say, Gillis, give Risebrough a call, and pitch him the idea. Have him talk to Gaborik about this “PLAN”, and who knows, maybe it will help out both teams, UFA-wise.