Fernandez trade to Bruins nears


Desperate to free up salary cap space as the free agency period opens Sunday, the Wild appears close to trading goaltender Manny Fernandez to the Boston Bruins.

While an NHL source says the trade will definitely happen on Sunday, official word from Wild assistant General Manager Tom Lynn on Saturday night was that no trade has been finalized by the Wild or approved by the league.

The proposed trade from the Bruins, a source said, is prospect Petr Kalus, a 6-1, 195-pound power forward, and an undisclosed draft pick. The source said the Wild has agreed to the trade, but it won’t be announced until Sunday.

Reached at his Montreal home, Fernandez has received no word from either team.

“This is something that’s been juggling in a circle for a long time now, whether they’d trade me or not,” Fernandez said. “There’s been questions my whole time here, whether I was doing good or not, there’s always talk about me getting traded.

“But if this is it, I’ve had a long time to get ready mentally for this.”

The Wild came close to trading Fernandez to the Bruins at last weekend’s draft. However, things fell through when the Bruins became concerned about Fernandez’s off-ice attitude and goaltenders Tomas Vokoun and Vesa Toskala were being shopped.

Fernandez, 32, one of three Original Wild players still with the team, had a record of 113-102-28 in 260 games with the Wild with a 2.47 goals against average and .914 save percentage. He teamed with Niklas Backstrom last season to win the William Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goalies for the team, which gives up the fewest goals.

“It would be a jumpstart to my career, which I don’t think I really needed, but I can’t wait to go there and show my stuff to them,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez became expendable when the Wild re-signed Backstrom to a two-year, $6.2 million deal.

Kalus, 20, a 2005 second-round pick by the Bruins, is said to be a strong, fast, talented forward with star power. Since turning pro last fall, however, he’s been plagued by inconsistency, the NHL source said.

In 43 games with AHL Providence, Kalus, a Czech Republic native, scored 13 goals and 30 points.

He had four goals and an assist in nine games with Boston.