The Minnesota Wild have resigned defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a three year contract worth $8 million dollars or $2.66 million dollars a year on average. The Wild have now assured an important part of their blue line corps will be in the fold for the foreseeable future. Over the course of 39 game last season Spurgeon totaled 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points. Those numbers were career bests in goals (5), power play goals (4), game winning goals (2), plus minus rating (-1). The 23 year old, 5′ 9″, 185 lb D-man has a cannon of a shot from long range and the ability to make a clean, accurate first pass under pressure out of the defensive zone. Spurgeon also seems to be equipped with some sort of inner radar that allows him to sense an opponent bearing down on him and side step hit after crushing hit. Time and time again is looks as if an opposing forward is going to leave him a smear on the plexi-glass and ends up eating glass himself as Spurgeon moves away with the puck making a pass to jump start the offense. Last season the Wild lacked a consistent partner for Spurgeon, a problem that appears to have been solved with the signing of free agent defenseman and Minnesota native Keith Ballard. That makes the Wild’s top two D-pairs, Ryan Suter with Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon with Keith Ballard. I like it!!
In his three years with Minnesota Spurgeon has totaled 12 goals 38 assists for 50 points over 162 games with a -4 overall plus/minus rating. Spurgeon is a story in perseverance. He spent 5 season with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL before joining the Wild organization on a tryout basis in 2010. He signed an entry level free agent contract on September 23, 2010. He made the team out of camp and spent 53 games with the Wild and 23 with the Houston Aeros during the 2010-11 season. Jared was originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the 6th round, 156th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He impressed the Minnesota coaching staff with his work ethic, smooth skating, and great puck moving ability. Spurgeon doesn’t leave his squad short handed very often totaling just 12 penalty minutes during his career with Minnesota. Last season he had just 4 PIM over 39 games. His total PIM is the lowest among all active NHL defensemen who have played at least 100 games. He is a staple on the number one power play and penalty kill units, a testament to the confidence Head Coach Mike Yeo has in him. He skates big minutes with the Wild, ranking third on the team in time on ice (TOI) last season at 21:32 average. He ranked fourth in TOI in 5 playoff games against the Blackhawks averaging 21:15. He would have skated in all 48 games for Minnesota last season but suffered a deep bone bruise in his foot after blocking a slap shot just 3 games into the campaign that put him on injured reserve for 9 contests.
I think the Wild have gotten a real bargain and great value with Spurgeon’s new contract. He deserves the 250% raise and has worked hard for this opportunity and security of a three year deal. On a fan relation basis, Jared Spurgeon is great with fans, always ready to sign an autograph or pose for a picture. He almost seems in awe of the attention and praise fans shower him with, a pleasant change from the arrogant aloofness of players such as Marian Gaborik. The Wild seem to have their defenseive corps in order with today’s signings. That makes the defensive depth chart, Suter-Brodin, Spurgeon-Ballard, and Clayton Stoner with Nate Prosser. Other D-men in the mix under contract with the Wild organization include, Marco Scandella, Steven Kampfer, Mathew Dumba, Tyler Cuma, and Brian Connelly. GonePuckWild.com will be keeping you up to date and informed as the Wild continue to navigate the choppy waters of the 2013 free agency period. Until next time this is Scott Drain confidently shouting, “Let’s Go Wild!!!”