Minnesota Wild: A Case to Re-Sign Jordan Leopold


One of last season’s most compelling stories in all of sports and the NHL was the acquisition of Defensemen and local hero Jordan Leopold by the Minnesota Wild.   His daughter’s now infamous letter to GM Chuck Fletcher gave everyone a great feeling that sometimes in sports there’s more than just money that drives a franchise.

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Fast-forward to this off-season, and it’s back to reality as Fletcher has confirmed as recently as Sept 3rd that the Wild have not had any contact with Jordan or his agents. Fletcher explained he felt he needed to give the opportunity and cap space to younger Defensemen like Christian Frolin, Nate Prosser, and Mike Reilly. In the same interview he admitted the great calm that Jordan had on the locker room and more importantly the great mentorship he provided to Mathew Dumba. Still, despite all those positives: the massive NHL experience that Leopold has, and the local appeal as a former national champion for the Gophers, the Wild are not planning on bringing him back. Many Wild and NHL fans are left scratching their heads saying “Why let go of such a feel good story without even trying?”

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As it stands right now the Wild currently have $1.9 million in salary cap space, not a huge amount, but still enough for some small additions. It’s obvious that Fletcher wants as much space as he can in order to facilitate any transactions that might need to arise as a result of injuries or trades.

If you use Leopold’s previous contract $2.25 million per year as a jumping off point you might think that this is a hopeless venture. Still that might be a bit short-sighted as you would have to assume that salary number would go down signifigantly given Jordan’s age (35 yrs old) and the lack of interest from other franchises.

I could see the Wild offering him a salary somewhere south of $1 million easily just based on the fact that the Detroit Red Wings just secured Daniel Cleary (Age 36) for $950,000.

Additionally, take into account the recent signings of fellow Wild Defensemen Nate Prosser for $625,000 and Christian Frolin for $725,000, you can easily see a number negotiated between $625,000 and $900,000. I could see Leopold going for such a deal, as he is excited and motivated to play for his hometown Wild. If Leopold signs for that range the Wild would still have cap wiggle room with somewhere between $1.275 million to $1 million. That gives them better cap room than eight teams in the NHL.

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Outside of the money, signing Leopold is all about insurance. The young defensemen have a HUGE upside, but as we saw last year with Darcy Kuemper, unproven talent can crash and burn fast. Why not keep around a proven fan favorite talent for defensive depth, as opposed to putting all of your eggs into the Prosser, Frolin, and Reilly basket?

Finally I’d point to the fellow hometown Twins’ addition of ToriI Hunter as the formula to why keeping Leopold is a smart move. Hunter may not be the biggest producer on the Twins, but his presence and leadership is certainly a positive to a team on the rise. Just having Jordan Leopold in your locker room and in practices will be more than worth the effort of at least trying to re-sign him. So why not at least try?

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