La Velle E. Neal III
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Only a week ago, Wild General Manager Bill Guerin expressed caution while talking about his objectives prior to Monday's NHL trade deadline.

The Wild's power play was scuffling. The Wild's penalty kill unit was perilous. Its goaltenders were conduits to the back of the net for pucks. Nothing seemed to work, but Guerin warned he couldn't snap his fingers or twitch his nose and make everything better.

"You can't trade your way out of problems. It's just impossible," he said at the time. "You can make a trade to strengthen your team or add to it. But if you have a problem, a trade is not going to fix it."

Oh really?

By late Monday morning, it sure looked as if Guerin had addressed just about everything as he fortified his roster for the rest of the regular season and for a hoped-for playoff run.

The Wild was playing some of the best hockey in the league until the middle of February, when it lost 10 of 14 games. It has recovered some, winning five out of seven games after defeat Vegas 3-0 on Monday. And now Guerin has sprinkled wart remover over the parts of the roster that needed it.

And the warts are in trouble. The roster looks better than it did a week ago with the addition of winger Nicolas Deslauriers, defenseman Jacob Middleton, center Tyson Jost and a three-time Stanley Cup winner in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

If the Wild had gone into the postseason and was eliminated because of a struggling penalty kill, because it lacked size and grit on defense and because it needed depth between the pipes, Guerin would have been criticized for not solving problems.

Maybe this is a debate over semantics, but it's clear the Wild needed fixes. After telling the team during the opening at camp that it's all about winning — while sprinkling in some colorful language — the team won enough to force Guerin to do his job.

Which is to fix problems and help them win more.

"It's not because of what I'm doing today," Guerin said. "It's because of what these guys have done all year and the way that they've played and the way that they've changed things around here."

The costs weren't that substantial. Nico Sturm was sent to Colorado for Jost. A third-round pick was sent to Anaheim for Deslauriers, who put a big hit on Vegas' Brayden Pachal on his first shift Monday and scored on his second. Backup goalie Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick were sent to San Jose for Middleton. And a conditional first-round pick went to Chicago for Fleury. The Blackhawks are paying half of Fleury's salary.

And the Wild retrieved a second-round pick Monday when they sent the rights to third-round pick Jack McBain for a second-round pick. So they upgraded in three areas for couple of draft picks, a backup goalie, a defenseman and a fraction of Fleury's $7 million salary. And got a second-round pick back. To offset some of Fleury's salary, the Wild sent Victor Rask to Seattle on Monday for part of his $4 million salary.

When you add Jost and Middleton to help the penalty kill, that's fixing things.

When you add Middleton and Deslauriers to be physical and respond when No. 97 and others are picked on so Marcus Foligno can stay on the ice longer, that's fixing things.

When you add a goaltender of Fleury's caliber to raise the level of goaltending, that's fixing things.

The reaction to adding Fleury appears to be split among fans, but he's last year's Vezina Trophy winner, folks.

The Wild is deeper, tougher and hasn't forgotten what it was like to face a deep and tough Vegas team last season in the playoffs.

It's been quite a week for local teams, as Fleury joins the Wild a few days after the Twins reached a deal with top free agent shortstop Carlos Correa — both eye-opening moves in their respective leagues.

But once you add up everything the Wild has done leading up to the trade deadline, the sum of these new parts means a couple of things:

Bill Guerin is a problem solver.

And the stakes have been raised.