An extremely interesting offseason awaits the Minnesota Wild. After being eliminated in the qualifying round and being awarded the ninth-overall pick, it is time to get to work for Bill Guerin. This is the Wild’s first top-ten pick since they selected Matt Dumba seventh-overall in 2012.
It is time to take a look at the current roster and examine who has their roster spot secured for next season, which is tentatively starting December 1st. The two biggest needs for the Wild are a first-line center and starting goaltender. This article will address each player and their odds of starting the 2020-21 season as a member of the Minnesota Wild.
Jared Spurgeon — He is not going anywhere. Spurgeon just signed a seven-year contract extension that is now the most lucrative cap hit in Wild franchise history. He is 30 years old and most likely plays out most of his contract with his current level of play. It is also important to note he has a no-move clause. The Wild’s star defenseman just came off arguably the best year of his career.
Zach Parise — The Wild’s biggest free-agent acquisition in team history is also not going anywhere. Parise has five years remaining at just over $7.5 million AAV. The 35-year-old still has plenty of game left in the tank and has been one of the most productive forwards since he came to Minnesota. It is almost impossible that he gets traded this offseason due to his contract and the reality of the flat cap. He was almost sent to the Islanders after waiving his no-move clause, but given their deep run in the playoffs with Pageau leading charge, they will most certainly stay away from adding on unnecessary money.
Ryan Suter — The Wild’s first-pairing defenseman is staying put. Along with Parise, he still has five years remaining at just over $7.5 million AAV. He has been the Wild’s minute-munching defenseman who is one of the Wild’s most productive defenseman offensively. He also has a no-move clause and has not shown any desire to leave.
Kevin Fiala — Easily the best forward for the Wild since January, he emerged as the game-breaker that former Wild general manager Paul Fenton described him as when he acquired him from Nashville. The 24-year-old winger has emerged as one of the biggest bright spots for the Wild and he will most certainly be here long term. He will need a new contract after the completion of next season.
Kirill Kaprizov — He will be in the discussion for the Calder Trophy. Do I need to say any more?
Likely Staying Put
Jonas Brodin— He is arguably the best defensive defenseman in the NHL. He is now on the last year of his contract and will be in talks this offseason to sign an extension. The only reason he is not untouchable is that if the asking price is too much and the Wild can not afford him, he could be moved so the Wild aren’t completely empty-handed.
Mats Zuccarello— He had an underwhelming and frustrating season, to say the least. Due to his no-move clause and lucrative contract, he likely is here to stay. There is still a reason to be optimistic since he looked really good when he was moved to Dallas before signing with the Wild as a free agent. There is no doubt the Wild will explore trade possibilities but he would have to get traded similarly as the Lucic for Neal trade, a bad contract for another bad contract. This will be tough given Zuccarello has a no-move clause.
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Marcus Foligno— He is in serious contention to be the Wild’s next captain. He not only is the Wild’s heart and soul player but provides a physical presence that is very desirable. He is the Wild’s most physical player and had a career-year offensively. If there is not enough already to justify his value to the club, he was the best defensive forward for the Wild this season. He is in the last year of his contract and will be seeking an extension.
Joel Eriksson Ek — Only Foligno was better defensively this season. He has emerged as one of the best defensive centers in the NHL despite being taken before Brock Boeser. He looks to have the potential of a high-end second-line center. Given the Wild are dry up the middle, they definitely will want to keep on to him.
Carson Soucy — He came out of nowhere and proved he was ready to become an NHL player out of camp this year. He did more than that and has proven he has the chance to become a legitimate top-four defenseman. He was great all around and will be looking for an extension. He is a Group Six unrestricted free-agent, so there is a chance that he could leave and explore a more wealthy contract. I do believe he re-signs with the Wild with the expected departure of Dumba or Brodin.
Ryan Hartman — He was a free-agent acquisition under Paul Fenton, and ended up being one of the only positive moves he did. Hartman was fantastic this season overall with his physical presence and getting under the skin of the opponents. He also chipped in offensively and was one of the better Wild forwards defensively.
Luke Kunin — He is not a good defensive player and has provided the Wild with negative value with his overall play. However, he is 22 years old and is still developing. He had a career-high in goals (15), assists (16), and thereby points (31). He is definitely a player you hold on to with a bright future ahead of him. Hopefully, he can tighten up his defensive game and still be the productive goal-scorer that he has flashed hints of this season.
Could be on the Block
Matt Dumba — We’ve yet to see the return of the Dumba we saw lead the league in goals (for defenseman) before his injury in the 2018-2019 campaign. There is immense potential but a change of scenery might be the best option for the 26-year-old defenseman. He is right-handed so there should be a huge market for him and hopefully, he can be the part of a package for a first-line center the Wild desperately needs. He is likely the biggest trade chip the Wild have, but doesn’t have as positive of an impact on the game as Jonas Brodin when looking deeper into metrics. Given that Calen Addison should be able to replace him within a couple of years makes him somewhat expendable.
Ryan Donato — It is still puzzling that he has not been given a higher role despite being such a productive player. He has fell victim to the Wild’s depth chart that features a surplus of wingers. It, unfortunately, appears he will not be given a chance in Minnesota unless the Wild move a top-9 winger. If he indeed is not given a chance, he should fetch the Wild a nice return.
Jordan Greenway — He kind of sums up the Wild’s prospect pipeline. A prospect with immense potential that underachieves at the NHL level. He is a big body, yet has not taken full advantage of it. He has a great shot yet does not shoot enough. He has so much potential but has not been able to craft his play into a complete game. The Wild certainly will want and should keep him but patience is a card the Wild can not play. The Wild have a surplus of wingers, a Seattle Expansion Draft to prepare for, and many big upcoming financial decisions to deal with. He may have one more season to prove his worth.
Alex Stalock — The Wild have a difficult goaltending situation to address this offseason. Stalock could be a desirable asset to a team that needs a backup goalie. He has two years remaining at just under $800K AAV, so he is an incredibly cheap backup a team could pursue. This will ultimately depend on if the Wild sign a free-agent goaltender to pair with Kaapo Kahkonen for next season.
2021 Trade Deadline Assets
Eric Staal — He is in the last year of his contract, and if he is not moved in the offseason, he could be a valuable asset at the trade deadline. He is still a productive player on a great contract. Behind the Parise and Suter signings, he is the next best free-agent signing, he has done way more than anyone expected him to do.
Brad Hunt — He was a great depth acquisition, but given he is in his 30s, the Wild should use him as a tradeable asset and get a draft pick in return. He is on the final year of his contract and would be a steal as a rental for a contending team that needs defensive depth.
Greg Pateryn — He has done his job, the problem is, he has not done any more than that. There is really not a spot for him and he likely only makes it to the deadline as a depth defenseman if one is traded this offseason for a center. He would also be a tradeable asset at next year’s deadline. He could probably fetch the Wild a third or fourth-round pick depending on how the market is for him at the deadline.
Alex Galchenyuk — He played good after coming to Minnesota but his terrible postseason play probably defeats any last chance of getting a contract extension. He likely only returns as a depth piece if the Wild can not fulfill their needs up the middle.
Victor Rask — Who knows what happens with him? There is a legitimate chance he could be bought-out but if the Wild decide to buy Dubnyk, it could change what happens to him. The last resort is that he stays as a depth piece similar to Galchenyuk. The Wild could explore trade options but likely no interest in him.
Farewell, Thank You
Mikko Koivu — It was likely Koivu’s last chance at making a run for the Stanley Cup. He does not seem interested in going to a contender and given where the Wild are, both parties will likely part ways. He had a phenomenal career and was vastly underrated. Hats off to the CapFinn
Devan Dubnyk — After a poor season, with a single year remaining on his contract, it is likely that Dubynk does not return to play for the Wild next season. He has regressed for a couple of years now. Wasn’t just a down year, it is a trend due to his age. The Wild will explore trade options, otherwise they can opt to buy him out. Thank you for everything Duby!
The Wild have tough decisions to make, but they must address the center and goaltending positions to give the Wild any chance next season.