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Minnesota Wild might let 'The Boogeyman' walk; Are goons going extinct?

Jun 17, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

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boogeymanfights.jpgFew active players are feared quite like “The Boogeyman” Derek Boogaard. Unfortunately for his bank account, the Minnesota Wild might not be so afraid of going without his services.

Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune reports that while the team hasn’t ruled out the chance of the frightening enforcer returning to the fold, the team might let him test the free agent market.

Derek Boogaard, the Wild’s 6-8 enforcer, remains unsigned two weeks prior to free agency. And, although General Manager Chuck Fletcher says he’s had “regular conversations going back three months” with Boogaard’s agent, Ron Salcer, Fletcher has indicated that he’s unlikely to re-sign Boogaard prior to July 1.

“We haven’t closed the book either, and maybe we revisit it July 1 or 2 if we don’t [re-sign him before],” Fletcher said. “But we have several areas we’re looking to improve. It comes down to, ‘How much cap space can you allocate to a certain area without compromising other areas?'”

Fletcher has been entrenched in trade talks heading into next weekend’s draft in Los Angeles. He wants to maintain salary-cap flexibility so it doesn’t inhibit any roster moves via trade or free agency.

While Fletcher and other GMs try to put a positive spin on these kinds of situations, it’s hard not to wonder if the Boogard-types are an endangered species (if not extinct). The post-lockout game is so dependent on speed and skill that dressing a player whose sole goal is to throw knuckles can be a serious drawback. Naturally, intimidation will always be a big part of the game, but maybe the big, mean enforcers are giving way to the pesky, middleweight guys who can play a little bit. They might be a bit despicable at times, but the Matt Cooke/Dan Carcillo-type pests tend to be much more useful than pure goons.

Either way, it’s been a bad week for glorified boxers on skates. The Montreal Canadiens started off the contract buyout period by letting Georges Laraque go and now it’s clear that Boogard’s future is in question.

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