The NHL’s offseason free agency period is just two hours old and the Minnesota Wild have already added a huge name to the roster. The team also has some intriguing plans in the works for a couple other players in this year’s crop.
The Wild started early by signing Thomas Vanek, the player linked to the team for over a year now. The Wild’s interest in the Vanek’s scoring has been well documented since Minnesota acquired his buddy Jason Pominville two trade deadlines ago.
Instead of offering Vanek a long term, six or seven year contract like other teams have, the Minnesota Wild lucked out and snagged Vanek for well under market value. Minnesota reportedly reached an agreement to bring Vanek home for 3 years and a total at $19.5 million. Remember, the New York Islanders offered him a 7-year, $49 million deal which he rejected. Everything went exactly as planned for Minnesota and they got an absolute bargain.
The other name that has been linked to the Minnesota Wild is aging veteran Jarome Iginla. The 37-year-old winger remains extremely productive and would be able to bring oodles of leadership to a team that is far from lacking in that category. More importantly, he can still put the puck in the net, something that the Wild have lacked and are making a point of fixing this offseason.
After some preliminary talks, it seems the Minnesota Wild is officially out on defenseman Matt Niskanen. The price is simply too high and the time commitment is too long. The Wild should just stay within the organization to fill its six defensive spots instead of paying a high priced free agent. Niskanen will cash in somewhere, but the Wild have no reason to pay him the money he will receive elsewhere.
A name that is now officially off the Wild’s roster is Clayton Stoner. After 10 years of service within the organization, Stoner signed with the Anaheim Ducks just moments ago. The contract is reportedly worth $3.25 million per year for a 4 year term. With his departure, the Minnesota Wild may pursue a physical defenseman in order to take his place. I thought it would be a mistake to let him walk, but if that is the price he was asking, I have no problem doing away with Stoner.
Thomas Vanek was expected to come home. On the other hand, Iginla in a Wild uniform only recently emerged as an option. Other players that are less notable with probably be added into the fold at later dates, but those are the players that are integral in the pursuit of a Stanley Cup.
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