Category Archives: Minnesota Wild
If the Wild can’t sign free agent and former Gopher Thomas Vanek of the New York Islanders after the season, look for them to pursue Hastings native Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers. Either player would provide the one additional scorer the Wild need to contend for a Stanley Cup.
Minnesota forward and ex-Buffalo teammate Jason Pominville said he’s asked daily about the prospects of Vanek rejoining him.
Vanek understands the interest but didn’t get asked about it much while he was home.
Almost daily, Jason Pominville will get recognized around the Twin Cities. He’s always flattered, although inevitably the Wild winger knows where the conversation will usually end up.
It takes mere minutes for hockey-mad Wild and Gophers fans to ask Pominville if his former Buffalo Sabres teammate, Thomas Vanek, will soon be reuniting with him in Minnesota.
Pretty much everybody feels winger Thomas Vanek will be leaving the Buffalo Sabres at season’s end and may take a pay-cut to play in Minnesota, where he went to school. The tie-in is also Vanek’s Buffalo buddy Jason Pominville, who just got a five-year deal with the Minnesota Wild.
Typically, deals like this come down on the draft floor or just before the draft because the Wild is looking for either a first-round pick in the Clutterbuck deal (teams are hesitant to give up firsts right now because this draft is so deep) or a second so it could potentially use two seconds to try to move into the first round.
And often times when picks are involved, the teams involved want to make certain first the player they want to take is still sitting there. For instance, in 2006 when the Wild acquired Pavol Demitra for a first and Patrick O’Sullivan, the L.A. Kings didn’t agree to the deal until they were certain Trevor Lewis would still be there.
If the Pittsburgh Penguins reverse course and decide that they’ve had enough of Marc-Andre Fleury—though there’s no indication that’s going to happen—they have at least one potential trade partner.
The Minnesota Wild “expressed interest” in Fleury, who at the moment is a slightly above-average regular-season goalie that self-destructs in the postseason, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
So, just do the math. Not only does the Wild not have a No. 1 goalie yet, it hasn’t re-signed restricted free agents Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and maybe Justin Falk.
So the reality is Fletcher will have to create some cap flexibility. Not everybody can come back. There will be trades, potential buyouts, etc.
(Remember, you can surpass the salary-cap ceiling by 10 percent during the offseason as long as you get cap compliant by opening night).
Will the Wild make a splash? “I would like some of our young players to get experience and learn how to play in tough situations,” Fletcher said. “We can’t hide them. They have to go through the process at some point. You can’t just skip it and all of a sudden have these mature players that are just going to come in and play like veterans.”
In 2005-06, Anaheim, with Fletcher as an executive, played rookies Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner. They got valuable experience and a season later, the Ducks won a Stanley Cup with the trio making significant contributions.
Fletcher doesn’t want to make moves at the deadline that would lessen the roles that Wild rookies Jonas Brodin (top-pair defenseman), Charlie Coyle (first-line right wing) and Jason Zucker (playing second-line left wing before an injury opened the door for Pierre-Marc Bouchard to reestablish himself) would have if the Northwest Division-leading Wild makes the playoffs.
“If they can get this experience, it’ll make them and our team better down the road,” Fletcher said.
As for Cullen, 36, and Backstrom, 35, they’re in the last years of their deals. That always leads to trade rumors two weeks before the deadline because the common theory is teams want to get something for a player they may lose for nothing in the summertime.
Murray has never been afraid to make moves. The Senators may need another top-six forward who can contribute. If the Minnesota Wild decide to deal Matt Cullen, don’t be surprised if the Senators show interest. He had eight points in 21 games down the stretch in 2010. The dreamers will want them to get Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Not happening.
Matt Cullen is a savvy pro. At 36, in his 16th season, he knows how it works.
The trade deadline is April 3. He is in the last year of a contract that would make him an unrestricted free agent if the Wild chooses not to re-sign him.
That means, without fail, Cullen will be the subject of trade rumors for the next month.
In hockey, when you’ve tried everything but firing the coach and your team doesn’t respond, you tend to fire the coach. Maybe owner Craig Leipold won’t force that move immediately, but he has no reason to be patient after making an immense investment in front-line talent and watching his team fall apart.
Whether Mike Yeo is responsible for his team’s slump is irrelevant.
The Minnesota Wild were a starless team in need of a big-time jolt to get the franchise back to the point of being worthy of playing in “the State of Hockey.”
The jolts don’t come any bigger than this.
The Wild landed not one but both of the NHL’s top prizes in free agency, signing forward Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter on Wednesday. Each deal is for 13 years and $98 million, according to three people familiar with the contracts who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not release details.
“WE GOT ‘EM!” the Wild announced on their Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon, sending shockwaves across the league and through a devoted fan base that was starting to show signs of apathy after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Parise, the former New Jersey Devils playmaker, and Suter, who paired with Shea Weber on the Nashville blue line, were regarded the cream of what was a thin free agent crop, and each had spent the past four days poring over numerous offers from several teams before making a decision.
“This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild,” GM Chuck Fletcher said in a conference call.
The first act of the Wild’s summer is over. They made seven selections in the NHL draft over the weekend, taking Matt Dumba with the seventh overall pick and adding a 17-year-old defenseman whose high-wire style of play could make him a fan favorite.
But the most interesting act of the Wild’s summer is just about to begin.
It will start on Sunday, July 1, when a crowded field of suitors can officially begin chasing New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter — the two biggest prizes on the free-agent market and two players who could do nothing less than change the Wild’s future should they wind up in St. Paul.
Making that happen would require a convincing sales pitch, a little luck and lots and lots of cash. The Wild have the third one. They’ll soon see if they have the first two.
“You can’t control what happens on July 1,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said Sunday. “You can have your list. You can have your game plan. You can do a great job with presenting your situation. But the players have earned the right on July 1 to choose where they want to go.”
Wild GM: Big trade would be spendy
Could the Oilers pass on Yakupov?
Report: James van Riemsdyk “more than willing” to accept Columbus trade
Rumblings: Trade talk is heating up
SIEGEL: BURKE INTENDS TO USE FIFTH PICK; TRADE NOT IMMINENT
Penguins’ Shero not listening to Staal offers
Backstrom going nowhere
Wings will be ‘aggressive’ in pursuit of Justin Schultz
Ducks expect Parros to test free agency
SIEGEL: BURKE INTENDS TO USE FIFTH PICK; TRADE NOT IMMINENT
If need be, the Wild would be willing to offer presumptive New Jersey Devils free agent Zach Parise from Minneapolis a 13-year guaranteed contract.
Zach Parise declined to discuss his future on Monday night after the New Jersey Devils’ season came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the expectation remains that the Minnesota Wild will make a very strong push to sign the unrestricted free agent.
Former North Stars president and general manager Lou Nanne confirmed as much on Tuesday during his weekly appearance on “Reusse and Mackey” on 1500 ESPN. Nanne said that after talking to Wild owner Craig Leipold last week he believes, “the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink” at the winger in order to land him.
Nanne said he thinks the fact the financially strapped Devils lost in the Cup finals make it less likely that Parise will stick with that organization. Parise has spent his seven-year NHL career with New Jersey and served as the team’s captain.
“I was under the belief that he would have to win the Cup to come to Minnesota until I talked to Craig Leipold last week,” Nanne said. “I’ve gotta tell you, the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink at him. I think there’s a good chance he ends up in Minnesota, because I don’t see anybody in the National Hockey League willing to give as much to Parise as the Wild are going to be willing to give. So I would not be surprised if Zach Parise came home.”
Nanne went on to say that the Wild will pursue Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, who also will be a free agent on July 1.
“They’re going to do everything in their power to get them,” Nanne said. “And I would not be surprised if they got them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get them. But I have to tell you, if they don’t get them it’s going to be confusing to me — especially Parise, because I really believe the Wild will pay more than anybody else for him.”
The Red Wings, Rangers and Penguins also have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Parise, whose father J.P. played with the North Stars.
Apparently tired of waiting on Saku Koivu to make a decision, the Minnesota Wild have turned their attention else where.