The first buyout period began Friday morning and it will run through October 8th. This is the first critical date of the offseason and teams are preparing and deciding whether to buy-out specific underperforming players.
In a flat cap world, there could be more buyouts than normal. A lot of teams are cap-strapped right now. The Wild have several candidates that could be bought out including Devan Dubnyk and Victor Rask who are the favorites. Despite that, it doesn’t appear that Wild GM Bill Guerin will buy-out any player.
“He’s signed for next season. He’s our goalie. And until he’s not, he is,” Bill Guerin said in a Zoom through The Athletic with Michael Russo.
It is pretty likely that Dubnyk will be apart of the Wild’s goaltending tandem next season. This could mean that Stalock will be traded or sent down to the minor leagues since Guerin was not happy with the Wild’s goaltending this season.
Dubnyk is almost untradeable because his partial no-trade-clause has 19 teams on it which means he can easily manipulate the situation. All Dubnyk needs to do is put contenders on his list that already have a starting goaltender. Given his contract, most teams can’t afford him for a backup either.
“No, we’re not buying out Victor. Victor is a good player. To be quite honest, he hasn’t been treated fairly.” Guerin answered on whether Rask is a buyout candidate.
It is crystal clear on the approach Guerin is taking and how he feels about buying a player out. It appears as though the Wild will not buy any player out.
Are there any potential buyout candidates league-wide that could fit with the Wild?
Alexander Wennberg, Columbus Blue Jackets
It has been reported by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that Columbus is considering buying out Alexander Wennberg. If the Wild don’t execute a Matt Dumba trade for a top-six center, I believe this could be a smart acquisition.
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Thinking more long-term, Marcus Johansson is likely not staying in Minnesota past this season unless he can resurrect his career. Wennberg has been unable to thrive in Columbus the past two seasons, and he could use a change of scenery.
The 26-year-old center has the potential to be a strong middle-six center. After a phenomenal 2017-18 campaign, he wasn’t able to carry that into the following two seasons. In the early years of his career, from 2015-2018, Wennberg was a quality second-line center.
Most notably, in 2017-18, Wennberg played on the level of an elite first-line center which is displayed by the 3.7 wins he offered that season. There is no doubt he still has the potential to be a top-six center. He is entering his prime, but he has fallen out of favor in Columbus, rightfully so.
Kyle Turris, Nashville Predators
James Mirtle of The Athletic ranked Turris as the 14th top buyout candidate in one of his latest articles. Kyle Turris has deservedly landed himself on a potential buyout list. He has been regressing for the past two seasons and has been far from average.
I think this one would still be interesting to explore if the Wild do not trade Dumba for a center this offseason. Turris could be signed to a short-term and low AAV deal and provide the Wild with more depth down the middle. If he could somehow restore his game, he could be a quality depth center.
What about a Zuccarello and Turris swap? Same term and AAV.
Olli Maatta, Chicago Blackhawks
There has been a ton of speculation on whether the Blackhawks will buyout Olli Maatta. If the Blackhawks do indeed buy him out, I think the Wild should explore this under two circumstances.
First and foremost, this would only occur if pending group-six unrestricted free agent Carson Soucy decides to sign with another club in free agency. The other way is that Dumba is traded in the coming weeks and Soucy takes his spot in the top-four leaving the third-pair far from desired.
A Brad Hunt and Greg Pateryn third-pairing likely becomes a disaster. Olli Maatta would be a fantastic third-pairing defenseman.
This is incredibly unlikely but it is interesting since it was confirmed Wednesday that the New York Rangers have bought-out Henrik Lundqvist. It doesn’t appear Dubnyk is going anywhere so I could only see this as Lundqvist splitting time in net with Dubnyk on a cheap one-year deal. Lundqvist has displayed he is still a quality starter in this league. It would also mean reuniting with one of his best friends, Mats Zuccarello.