With draft approaching, Wild's Fletcher fielding calls

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold, left, talks with Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher before the 2011 draft. It's draft time again; the NHL draft starts Friday and wraps up Saturday.

With the two-day NHL entry draft scheduled to start Friday in Philadelphia, league general managers are trying to get a read on which teams might be willing to deal.

Consequently, Chuck Fletcher's phone is getting a workout. The Wild GM has been on the phone so much, he joked Monday, that assistant GM Brent Flahr has had to take it away from him a few times.

Fletcher has shown that he's more than willing to pull the trigger on trades surrounding the NHL draft, and he has a few pieces he could move this week. But don't expect a blockbuster.

It's more likely Fletcher swaps draft picks or flips a role player or two.

"I would say I'm receiving more calls than dialing right now," he said.


"There seems to be a lot of tire-kicking, where teams are assessing what may be available from other teams," he added. "I find there's a lot of dialogue going into the draft week, trying to set up possibilities during the draft itself."

After the Wild's first playoff series victory since 2003, Fletcher isn't inclined to make wholesale changes. And although the Wild have a slew of young, talented players, many of them -- such as Erik Haula, Charlie Coyle and Mikal Granlund -- played major roles as Minnesota won six postseason games.

Because of that, the Wild may try free agency, which kicks off July 1, as the way to make any dramatic improvements.

"That's not to say we won't make a trade," Fletcher said. "We're looking at options in free agency. Certainly, there's a lot of (unrestricted free agents) that may be attractive to us as we get into the shopping period. ... So, I don't know that we're a team that's going to make a lot of moves. But we'll see; you never know."

Fletcher, however, is plenty interested in moving down in the draft in order to nab more picks. The Wild own the No. 18 overall pick, but none in the second round. As it stands, their next pick is No. 79 overall.

Fletcher and Flahr also believe this year's draft class is deeper than billed.

"We're certainly not averse to moving up, but we also are looking at scenarios where we move back," Fletcher said. "We don't have a second-rounder this year, so we're not opposed to moving back a few spots — or even right into the second round — if we could pick up multiple picks.

"There's good depth in this draft, we feel, right through the second round. So if we could add picks, that may be a priority that we look at — depending on what's there."


Heatley out

Seven Wild players, including Matt Moulson, Dany Heatley and Ilya Bryzgalov, are slated to become unrestricted free agents July 1 if they don't reach agreement on new contracts with the team.

Most of those players likely will test free agency, Fletcher said, and at least a few won't be back — including Heatley and Mike Rupp.

Fourth-line forward Cody McCormick and defenseman Clayton Stoner are the most likely of the seven to re-sign.

"Something could happen in the next day or two, but these guys have waited this long, why not wait another week and see what's there?" Fletcher said. "I think some of those guys will move on at this point."

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