Despite earlier speculation, the Wild will not be re-signing defenseman and Elk River native Nate Prosser. The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo reports that the team wasn’t interested in signing a one-way deal with him and that Prosser will look to take his talents elsewhere.
Prosser played a career-high 53 games last season, tallying two goals, six assists, and 58 penalty minutes. Over his career he’s played 126 games with three goals, 18 assists, a minus-9 rating, and 127 penalty minutes.
It was fun to watch Prosser bloom a bit this year and score the big goal on Hockey Day Minnesota, but this non-signing makes a lot of sense. Prosser is 28 and would command more money than most prospects, which could be unfortunate for the team if Prosser were to get sent to Iowa on a one-way contract. The team has turned its to attention toward the pool of young defensive prospects now, with guys like Christian Folin, Mathew Dumba, Gustav Olofsson, and Guillaume Gélinas knocking on the door.
Russo mentioned last week that the Wild were still looking for another defenseman though. At that time it sounded like Prosser might fit the bill, but general manager Chuck Fletcher has stated that one option for the team would be a trade.
A trade seems most likely right now, as the free agent market is drying up quickly. However, there are still a handful of free agents available who could fit in with the Wild and wouldn’t cost the Wild any draft picks or prospects, though these players (with the possible exception of Del Zotto) would likely command a one-way deal. Current unrestricted free agent defenseman include Michael Del Zotto, Jamie McBain, Derek Morris, Raphael Diaz, Paul Ranger, Henrik Tallinder, or Sheldon Brookbank.
What do you think? Who fits the bill for Minnesota either through trade or free agency?
Watch Prosser’s Hockey Day Minnesota OT game-winner and post-game interview below.