The Minnesota Wild are among three teams discussing a possible contract with free agent forward Paul Bissonnette, according to Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona. The other two teams showing interest are the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals.
Bissonnette has had to wait a spell for a contract to come through after not signing a new deal with the Arizona (née Phoenix) Coyotes. He played just 39 games with the team last season and was used sparingly down the stretch as the Coyotes made an attempt to grab a wild card spot in the Western Conference. Bissonnette only saw game action in just nine contests from February 1 to the end of the season.
Bissonnette, aside from being hilarious on Twitter, is a veteran of 202 NHL games over six seasons, five of which he spent with the Coyotes. In that span he has seven goals, 15 assists, and 340 penalty minutes.
Despite posting less than exciting scoring totals, Bissonnette has been a positive possession player for three of the last four years and has posted a Corsi for relative in the positive for the last three seasons. That should be tempered with the fact that he’s only played 146 of a possible 249 games over that span, but the advanced stats arms race may have something to do with the sudden surge of interest in the depth forward.
Bissonnette is rumored to be destined for Washington, according to Pro Hockey Talk, which matches a statement from his agent earlier this month. But it’s worth noting that he was drafted by Pittsburgh and played there his first season before he was lost when placed on waivers.
The Wild are a surprising third team on this list for me, as I don’t see a pressing need for a player of Bissonnette’s ilk on the team. However, GM Chuck Fletcher has made it clear he’d like the team to be tougher this season. While the team still has the physical presence of Matt Cooke, since the start of last season the team has lost Clayton Stoner, Zenon Konopka, and Mike Rupp. The only physical presence the team has added during the offseason is AHLer Joel Rechlicz.