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Wild GM Fletcher on Latendresse: “I want to get a sense of how healthy he thinks he can be”

May 22, 2012, 2:31 PM EDT

Guillaume Latendresse AP

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.

  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - May 22, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    No way is he worth 2.5 million a year. I’d offer that over 2 years… Maybe. I highly doubt he will be in shape either. He will end up as a bargain guy for some team. I don’t see him staying at that price.

  2. lordfletcher - May 22, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    I personally hope the Wild can tender him for less money but can understand if they settle on the $2.5

    Latendresse when healthy, is a game changer and can score goals… The Wild need him badly, especially if they are not able to land Parise this summer. 30 goal scorers don’t fall out of trees these days. If he is healthy enough to come back this year, by all means sign him. If he gets injured again this season, then cut ties, but it really doesn’t hurt anyone in making him another deal.

    I completely understand the people whom are on the other side of the fence than me on this topic, but it’s worth the risk (IMO)

    • ThatGuy - May 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Not sure if you just got the terms mixed up, but they can’t tender him an offer for less than 2.5 million per the CBA(RFA’s contract tender has to be atleast 100% of the previous contract if the player made over a million). They may be able to sign for less than the 2.5 million if Lattendresse realizes that after his last two season’s, he will not be making 2.5 again and would prefer to stay with the Wild.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - May 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

        Latendresse is a tough one. Like previous posts have said this guy can be a 30 goal scorer, however it feels like he had played 13 games the past two years combined (give or take a few games). If your the Wild how are you going to potentially waste 2.5 million on another injury plagued season, and it’s fair game to assume that until proven otherwise? That 2.5 million would come in handy adding to the 16-17 million you already have available in free agency, espically if they (as they claim) are going after both Suter and Parise?

        Also you have potentially replaced the ability of Latendresse’s 30 goals with Granlund who has hire upside than that and will be making 1 million?

        The 2.5 million question is: Is Latendresse willing to take less than the 2.5 million as a restricted free agent? Chances are, if you don’t tender him at 2.5 million, he’s gonna walk after he becomes a unrestricted free agent after the Wild don’t offer him 2.5 million. Then you have to worry about teams like Dallas who have cap room offering him 2 million. Then you have to ask yourself is it worth giving up on Latendresse completely for 500,000 or are you willing to roll the dice he can for once stay healthy for more than 8 games?

      • danphipps01 - May 22, 2012 at 8:42 PM

        I thought Granlund’s offer was for the rookie max – $2.7m plus potential bonuses. Of course, I may well have him confused with someone else, but I thought I read that recently. If it is true, that’s even more reason not to offer the $2.5m to Latendresse – they’re not a team that can just hurl money in every direction with no regard for quality or production.

        … you know, on that thought, if I were Fletcher I might try to pitch him to the Maple Leafs just to see what happens.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - May 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM

        Granlund’s contract is the rookie max: 3 years 2.7 million. Comes out to 900,000 a year.

  3. lordfletcher - May 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    @ThatGuy

    yes I had my terms mixed up a bit, sorry for that.

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