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Ward and the Wild?

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Trade rumors start to flutter as the Wild's goaltending starts to dwindle and Cam Ward's performance continues to be exceptional.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

It’s early January and it looks like trade talk is already starting to circle the league. Surprisingly enough, or maybe not, the Carolina Hurricanes fall into that mix.

More often than not, a coach’s success is intertwined with that of his goaltender. As of late, Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo has shown disapproval of his goaltending and lineup as a whole. In a practice held January 7th, Yeo was livid as the players displayed a "losers attitude." His record in the last 10 games is 2-4-4 and has put him under the organization’s microscope.

As of now, the Wild hold the second lowest save percentage next to the Edmonton Oilers. For the Hurricanes, their goaltending has been above average, unlike Yeo’s "below average" appraisal of Darcy Keumper’s game Tuesday night against San Jose. Cam Ward’s exceptional play this season has sparked interest in the Wild’s General Manager Chuck Fletcher although he declined to comment to the Star Tribune. However, sources say the Wild have inquired according to the Tribune.

Cam Ward currently is in possession of a 11-16-3 record, goals against average of 2.36, and a save percentage of .914.

Justin Faulk, Ron Hainsey, Alexander Semin, Jeff Skinner, and Jordan Staal are the only five players the Hurricanes have locked up past the 2015-2016 season according to Hockey Buzz.

Would the Hurricanes be willing to trade their franchise goaltender? And for what in return? Ward’s cap hit sits at $6.3 mil this year and next year. The players with a heavy bag of money from the other side include Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Miko Koivu, Jason Pominville, and Thomas Vanek. The possibilities of acquiring Suter or Parise fall on the slimmest chances considering their whopping 13-year $98 mil deal they signed in 2012. Vanek’s season is already better than the one he had in Montreal but he isn’t showing his $6.5 mil a year worth yet. Pominville worked in 30 goals and assists last season at the age of 31, but his longevity ability to produce could be in question even with four years remaining on his contract. Throw Koivu out of the mix because I just don’t see the Wild without him ever.

Ward has had his struggles with injuries in the past but he has proven he is still able to be at the Conn Smythe winning caliber eight odd years later.  His value is very high right now so he could be on the market for any team. Will their return piece benefit them in the long-run? He is about the only thing rolling on the highlight reel film for the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s crucial for the Hurricanes to get someone in return with equal value of the soon to be 31-year-old goaltender and not lose on a trade.