Can the Minnesota Wild Find a Black Friday Discount in Free Agency?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Minnesota Wild waits before a faceoff during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 8, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Mikael Granlund #64 of the Minnesota Wild waits before a faceoff during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 8, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

There are still notable players that are unsigned with the season nearing; could the Minnesota Wild find a Black Friday Discount?

The Minnesota Wild have made significant transactions over the course of the offseason thus far. To recap, the Wild acquired Nick Bjugstad, signed Jonas Brodin to a seven-year extension, traded Eric Staal to Marcus Johansson, moved Ryan Donato and Devan Dubnyk to San Jose in two separate trades.

Furthermore, this doesn’t even include signing Carson Soucy to a three-year extension, traded Luke Kunin in a draft-day trade to acquire several draft picks, signed Cam Talbot in free agency, and signed Jordan Greenway to a two-year extension.

The Wild have roughly $2.7 million in cap space right now according to CapFriendly. There are still several factors that will come into play that will affect the final cap number. It will depend on whether Greg Pateryn is ready for the season or moved to injured reserve. Likewise, it will also depend on if Marco Rossi can make the team out of training camp.

The Wild made one significant free-agent splash in signing veteran goaltender Cam Talbot to a multi-year deal. Are there any free agents that are still without a contract that could be the Wild’s Black Friday discount?

Disclaimer: Bill Guerin is likely done this offseason, so these are essentially all hypothetical scenarios to provide readers with a Black Friday read!

Mikael Granlund

The Wild traded Mikael Granlund in exchange for Kevin Fiala back in February of 2019. While Kevin Fiala has flourished in Minnesota, Granlund was struggling in Nashville and was unable to find his game despite averaging over 17 minutes of ice time per game. In the end, Granlund never found his game and has ultimately found himself a free agent looking for a contract.

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The free-agent market has changed dramatically since the pandemic hit and has led teams to be more conservative in the market. It has caused several players to take one-year deals with low cap hits. If Rossi does not make the team, would Granlund return to the Wild on a one-year deal with a low cap hit to prove his merit and be set for a long-term deal from another club next summer?

There is no question that Mikael Granlund is an elite winger and there would be no better place to recover his value than the place where it all began. This would provide the Wild with more speed, talent, and playmaking. Likewise, this would be a valuable asset to have at next season’s trade deadline.

While this is very unlikely, there are some benefits of making this happen if Granlund was open to taking a cheap contract with the benefit of displaying his talent on a contender. If Rossi does make the team, the Wild could still make this happen with several players going in and out of the lineup during the season such as Nick Bjugstad and Victor Rask.

Erik Haula

Erik Haula was part of the package that was sent to Vegas in the expansion draft. He broke out in Vegas just like Alex Tuch did who was among the Wild’s best prospects. Haula was then moved to the Carolina Hurricanes and then eventually to the Florida Panthers. He had a poor season last year and currently does not have a contract for the upcoming season.

Similar to Granlund, would he return to the Wild on a one-year contract with a low cap hit? It would provide him with a season to prove himself and return to free agency next summer. Haula would likely be the cheaper option of the two as well. This would also provide the Wild with an additional asset for the trade deadline next season.

Conor Sheary

Conor Sheary played stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins where he won two Stanley Cups and with the Buffalo Sabres. He is a strong middle-six forward and the Wild could likely get him for cheap given the free-agent market. He has been a solid depth player and has had a 20-goal season in the past.

He could be another middle-six winger for the Wild to use to have if needed on an affordable contract.

The Bottom Line

The Wild get several benefits from acquiring one of these players. It would provide the Wild with an additional asset to dangle at the deadline, cap flexibility, and most importantly, it would be a safety net if an injury occurs.

It is unclear how many games there will be next season, but it is a guarantee that there will be a shortened season. Depth will be the pinnacle in a shortened season. Could the rest of the Wild cap space be used to acquire one of these players? Is there enough space on the roster to make a contract work?