It’s a done deal. The Minnesota Wild can check off the first item on their offseason to-do list.
The Minnesota Wild have signed Jonas Brodin to a seven-year, $42 million contract extension today. The former first-round pick has one year remaining on his current contract before this one comes into effect. He is locked up until the 2027-28 season with a no-move clause through year four of the deal.
The 27-year-old Swedish puck-moving defenseman will be 35 when the contract ends. He now has the longest contract on the Wild, one year longer than his teammate Jared Spurgeon who signed a seven-year extension one year ago from yesterday.
Brodin is not replaceable and this was a vital move given he is integral to the Wild’s defensive core. He is one of the best if not the best defensive defenseman in the NHL. He provides immense value to the Wild blueline and there really weren’t any replacement options within the Wild organization and very few measure up to his defensive value.
Starting in the 2021-22 season, the Wild will have just over 27 million invested into their top-4 and this does not even include Carson Soucy who needs a contract extension. This was an essential move because of the defensive game Brodin brings on a nightly basis. One weakness of Brodin is his offensive abilities. He is not very good offensively, but it will be interesting whether or not he provides value offensively as he is now entering his prime.
Brodin finished the season with 2 goals, 26 assists, and 28 points in 69 games. He ranked third on the Wild this season in wins-above replacement which is a stat that takes into account all aspects of the game and how a player performs. He was behind just Joel Eriksson Ek and Jared Spurgeon.
Bill Guerin’s Success Only One Year with Minnesota
After his time in Pittsburgh, it is evident that Bill Guerin was meant to be a General Manager of an NHL team. It is hard to criticize Craig Leipold, but he made a mistake on Paul Fenton, and to Leipold’s credit, he owned it. There is no doubt that he made the right decision on Guerin. His patience, honesty, and character have been on full display thus far in his time as the GM of the Wild. He has changed the atmosphere in the organization and has done his job to the best of his abilities.
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He signed Jared Spurgeon to a seven-year contract extension last September. He not only sold Spurgeon on his plan for the future of the club but locked up the Wild’s most valuable player.
He acquired Alex Galchenyuk, defensive prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick that would end up being a 2021 first-round selection in exchange for veteran winger Jason Zucker. It was a good move that left a lot of people shaking their heads at the Penguins organization.
He then went back to the Penguins to secure a second deal that would give the Wild depth down the middle. Finally, he locked up Brodin long term, who is one of the biggest pieces to the Wild’s franchise.
He has done countless other moves and has legitimately put the Wild on the path to success.
What Does This Mean For Dumba? & Preparing For The Expansion Draft
Brodin’s contract extension now means it is more than likely that Matt Dumba will be moved this offseason for a top-six center. While centers do not grow on trees, there could be a trade that occurs this offseason given Dumba is only 26, has term, and is on a reasonable contract. That doesn’t even include that he is a right-shot and there will be more of a market for him.
I don’t think Dumba has reached his ceiling yet, he has a legitimate chance of becoming an explosive first-pairing defenseman as he is beginning to enter his prime. There should be plenty of interest in him. The Wild likely don’t get a high-end first-line center in the offseason but a fringe first-line center or legitimate second-line center is not too far of a stretch.
The Wild are now forced to protect Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter, and Jonas Brodin in the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft. The Wild could choose to protect eight skaters and include the Wild’s top four defensemen which includes Matt Dumba.
The reality is that he is the Wild’s biggest asset right now and will be the asset going the other way if the Wild are to acquire a top-six center. In my opinion, if you can’t trade him, simply don’t protect him in expansion because the Wild will not be able to re-sign him anyway when his current contract ends.
Minnesota Wild Acquire Nick Bjugstad
The Wild acquired Minnesota native Nick Bjugstad on Friday night. Bill Guerin was not finished dealing with Pittsburgh and he sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick in exchange for the 28-year-old center. The Wild will send the Penguins the 7th if Nick Bjugstad plays in 70 games or more or records 35 points. The Penguins also retained 50% of his salary in the trade.
This gives the Wild options at center and provides the Wild with more depth at the center position. It is more than likely that the Wild do not re-sign Alex Galchenyuk who was part of the return in the Jason Zucker trade.
The former first-round selection has 97 goals, 110 assists, and 207 points in 439 games. Hopefully, the change in scenery benefits Bjugstad who was a legitimate middle-six center with the Panthers.
Looking Ahead To The Offseason
The Wild’s two biggest needs are no secret; a first-line center and a starting goaltender. They could fill these needs through free-agency or via trade. There will be more articles in the upcoming week on their options for both these needs.
The Wild’s biggest priority now leans to Carson Soucy. He can become a group-six free agent and there is a chance that he will not return in a Wild jersey next season. The three other priorities are re-signing restricted free-agents Jordan Greenway, Luke Kunin, and Nico Sturm.