If the Pioneer Press reports of Gabby and/or his agent turning down $10M guaranteed for 8 or 9 years are true, it's painfully obvious that he no longer wants to play for the Wild. With that in mind, here are a couple of deals that Warpy would put on the table as GM:
1. Marian Gaborik, Martin Skoula and a #1 round draft pick (or Houston goalie Barry Brust and a #2 pick) to the L.A. Kings for Anze Kopitar and Patrick O'Sullivan. Gabby for Kopitar straight up wouldn't be all that bad either, though it would certainly favor the Kings, but if the Wild throw in the other goodies mentioned above, both teams would get more than they're giving up, and we'd be able to unload Skoula in the bargain.
2. A three-way trade with the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres (I had to work that in after seeing the BOS-BUF tilt last night). The Wild would give up Gaborik, Skoula, a #2 round pick and Brust, and receive Phil Kessel from Boston and Thomas Vanek from Buffalo. At first glance, that may sound like a lot to give up for two former Gophers, but if Gabby is done wanting to play here, then in reality we're not giving up all that much in order to get two proven goal scorers (not to mention the marketing coup of having ex-Gophers play for the Wild)
Boston would receive Gaborik and Brust, while giving up Kessel and a #1 round pick. Not a bad deal for them: they not only get Gabby, but also a backup goalie whose game will probably be good enough to be a starter by the time Manny Fernandez hangs 'em up.
Buffalo gives up Vanek, and receives the #1 round pick that Boston gives up above, the #2 round pick from Minnesota, and Skoula. Considering the quality of players who went for #2 round picks before the trade deadline last year, getting a #1 and a #2 pick for Vanek almost sounds like stealing from the Sabres' standpoint. If Buffalo balks at that, I'd even be willing to upgrade the Wild #2 pick to a #1 pick, giving the Sabres two first rounders for Vanek (with Skoula thrown in for good measure:) Given the Wild's recent drafts (one thing Doug Risebrough and company have done extremely well) we can afford to live without a first rounder next year if Kessel and Vanek are on the roster.
Sounds like a great deal all around, eh? As always, GO WILD!!!