May 22, 2012, 2:31 PM EDT
This promises to be an interesting summer for Guillaume Latendresse.
Minnesota’s talented power forward — once chosen second behind Sidney Crosby at the Quebec Major Junior draft — will turn 25 later this month and become a restricted free agent on July 1.
There’s no denying Latendresse’s skill, but there are questions surrounding his health. He’s missed 137 games over the last two years with a myriad of injuries (concussion, hip and groin issues) and according to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, he’ll talk to Latendresse’s about his health and see if it’s worth bringing him back.
“We’ll have a good conversation to see where he’s at with his health and where he’s at with his conditioning, and what he wants to do,” Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “I want to get a sense of how healthy he thinks he can be next year and where his head’s at.”
When healthy, Latendresse can be a dynamic scorer. He scored 25 goals in 55 games with the Wild after being acquired from Montreal but, if the Wild want to keep him, they’ll need to make a $2.5 million qualifying offer — a lot of money to invest in someone lacking durability (and someone owner Craig Leipold once publicly blasted for being out of shape.)
That said, the Wild could try to negotiate a deal for less than the $2.5 and hope Latendresse accepts.
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