Wild needs to shed some salary

The Sports Xchange

The Wild is officially on August hiatus after its July 4 fireworks, but one gets the sense that at some point general manager Chuck Fletcher will make a trade to give him a little breathing room under the salary cap.

By signing New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise and because youngster Mikael Granlund is penciled in as the second-line center, there's a chance one skilled forward -- Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Devin Setoguchi or Matt Cullen -- will have to start on the third line.

What's more, Torrey Mitchell, who was signed July 1 to be a third-line forward, has been bounced to the fourth line after signing a three-year deal worth $1.9 million annually. That's an awfully expensive fourth-liner.

The Wild also has 49 players under contract. It can have a maximum 50. It also is less than $2 million from the $70.2 million salary-cap ceiling -- a ceiling that should drop when a new collective bargaining agreement is finalized.

So the Wild might need to create some wiggle room.

Having so many forwards will make it tough for many of the Wild's prospects to have a chance at making the team.

For now, Fletcher says he's compelled to stay patient and see how things play out in training camp. If a prospect proves he's one of the top 12 forwards in camp, Fletcher says he will find that player a spot.

That means, Fletcher said, no player can take his job for granted in camp after years of players essentially being given spots no matter what happened in camp.

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