A changing of the rearguard could be in the works for the Wild

  • Article by: Michael Russo , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2013 - 11:21 PM

The Wild is buying out defenseman Tom Gilbert, and ex-Gopher Keith Ballard might be a replacement.

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kerchiefJul. 3, 1311:20 PM

I'd like to see Ballard sign here. The guy's got wheels, is one of the best hip checkers in the league and can blister the puck. It would be nice to see him gain his confidence back in a Wild sweater.

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sidhartmannJul. 3, 1311:49 PM

Russo, If not now, at what point can the Wild buy out Heatley?

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mjk121882Jul. 4, 1312:28 AM

Wow, it would be nice if the Wild could find a way to get Ference and Ballard. With Suter, Brodin, Ballard, Ference the blue line isn't looking so bad. Scandella and Spurgeon then could move to the 5th and 6th defensemen, which would be huge. Who knows if they will have that kind of cap room though.

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ReporterJul. 4, 13 2:34 AM

Ballard's cheap shot past makes me a little wary of him, but he's probably worth picking up. I thought Gilbert just played well below his potential all last season. But right now, the thing I care about most is Cullen. He doesn't wear the C, but he's definitely the captain of this squad.

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mgalaforetJul. 4, 13 7:57 AM

Wow, why don't the Wild eliminate all non-Minnesotans from the roster, then quite a few of these readers, plus the local insider, will be beyond themselves with joy. Of course it doesn't matter if the Minnesota-borns players are any good or not, because they are perceived to be good by some. I seriously doubt there is any other team who has a large fan base, who is so desiring of a local being on their team. Its laughable from an outsiders perspective. After all, the Bonins, Lundins, Neilsons, Prosser, on and on, have all worked out so well. Bring up Parise, and all I can say is he just met career average numbers at best. And the insider's favorite player had a decent year last year, after not earning his salary the prior two.

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minneg56Jul. 4, 1310:23 AM

I'm not even a big Wild fan and the mention of name Cam Barker turns my gut the same way Hershcel Walker does ...

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angusyoungJul. 4, 1310:27 AM

Oh yea...Let's just have a whole team of Minnesota born player's.. Sad part is very few MN born player's are actually Star's or really making a difference.. Most are nothing more than role player's.. I hope at some point Fletch doesn't take us all for fools and think all us fans need a buch of Minnesotan's on the roster.. Cause if he keeps it up this team is gonna stink for year's to come.. Ballard has been Aweful the last 3-4 year's of his carrer.. We don't need him..Stay away Fletch.. You should have learned your Lesson with the MN born Gilbert..

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SMandtJul. 4, 1311:12 AM

Ballard would be okay, maybe a slight upgrade over Gilbert but not much. The main benefit would be that he could come at a relative bargain. As for the few comments of people starting to scream "oh no, an all-Minnesota born team" don't even worry about it. Not that it makes much sense, after only four players (Parise, Cullen, Gilbert and possibly Ballard) have been discussed, but the NHL simply doesn't work that way. It'll never happen unless it actually means winning more games.

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angusyoungJul. 4, 1312:10 PM

Don't get me wrong.. I grew up here. I played Minor hockey and through HS hockey here.. I am proud of our hockey heritage, but facts are facts.. Other than a few MN born player's currently in The NHL Parise-McDonough-Stepan(there may be a couple more).. Very few Mn born players are true stars on their respective teams.. Most are 3rd and 4th liner's and hardly any 1st pairing D and Zero goalies... Fletch seems to have it in his head that he needs to appease MN fans by drafting at least 1 or 2 player's every year from MN and having 4-5 on the roster.(I think it's that Goldie Gopher syndrome)... I say.. "Who cares where their from" I just wanna win.. Please Fletch start drafting and going after Western Canadien boys from The Prarie.. Their tough and they know how to play the game..

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caferevJul. 4, 1312:58 PM

Seriously, if this team is not going to re-sign Matt Cullen because it wants to be "served by more youth and two-way contracts," WHY would we not also buy out Kyle Brodziak, who is 31 next year, an inept third line center, and still has two years left on his contract? If we really do want youth and two-way contracts, and we're really going to move Charlie Coyle to second line center, why in the world wouldn't you buy out Brodziak and give that line to Mikael Granlund, at least until Tyler Graovac is ready??? This scheme makes no sense. If you're going to commit to something, a movement of sorts, commit to it. Brodziak has no place in this team's future, nor is he a legit top-nine forward at present. Cut him loose and let's get on with getting better already.

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