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Wild will be cautious this summer despite abundance of cap space

Jun 15, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT

Mikael Granlund #64 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on February 1, 2013 in Anaheim, California.
(January 31, 2013 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

There aren’t many teams that are entering the free agent period with more cap space than the Minnesota Wild, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will make a big splash this summer.

Minnesota is still a pretty young team after all and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is planning ahead.

“While this year we have a lot of cap space, things could tighten up over the next two to three years,” said Fletcher, per the Star Tribune. “It’s easy this year to just go out and add a guy, but unless it’s a one-year contract, you have to be pretty mindful. If one of our young guys is going to be better than maybe we’re projecting and he’s going to fill that same role next year or in the future, then we’re just wasting money and we’re going to be short somewhere else.”

Forwards Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, and defenseman Jonas Brodin are all playing under entry-level contracts that are set to expire following the 2014-15 campaign, so some of them might be in line for significant raises at that point. Marco Scandella, 24, is also set to become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015.

Beyond that factor, Fletcher just doesn’t feel as much urgency to make a move this summer as he might have in the past when Minnesota wasn’t in as good of a situation.

“There’s not nearly as many question marks,” Fletcher said. “There have been some years where we had to go out and do something at a certain position. This year we can look at ways to upgrade the team, and if we do so, great. But if we need to be more patient and wait to the end of the summer or into the season or even next summer, we have that ­flexibility.”

  1. gbart22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Goaltending is a question mark there. Backstrom is in clear decline and while Harding is solid his health leaves him as a question and who knows how the young guys turn out. For a team with fans who seem to want to win now and who appear to have very little patience at this point I would think they would want to address the goaltending in some way for next season.

    • bcisleman - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      A comment so nice you made it twice! Agreed though. Tough situation with Harding. A trade for Reimer might be wise.

  2. gbart22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Goaltending is a question mark there. Backstrom is in clear decline and while Harding is solid his health leaves him as a question and who knows how the young guys turn out. For a team with fans who seem to want to win now and who appear to have very little patience at this point I would think they would want to address the goaltending in some way for next season.

  3. skolvikesskol - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    So in other words: “we are going to continue to put a mediocre team on the ice b/c we know minnesota fans are not very demanding of us. As a matter of fact, for some reason, Wild fans think they are superior to every other fan and team out there…. So we will continue to laughing our way to the bank…. Look everyone, we know it’s crazy but you see Minnesota is a self proclaimed hockey state, so they basically have to support whatever garbage we put on the ice or they lose their own self worth. Thank god we are not the Vikings where fans actually will hold their owners, coaches and executives accountable or we all would lose our jobs every mediocre year.” Ca-Ching!

    • strictlythedanks - Jun 16, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      Is that you sharon rodgers?

      too much sand up the vaj?

      get back to the yoga and your bf braun

      • skolvikesskol - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        2nd dumbest comment ever. Lifelong bikes fan and Aaron Rogers & Brett Favre are better than any qb we ever had…. except MAYBE Tarkenton. U sir are a troll of epic proportions.

    • purpleguy - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      You must be from Wisconsin.

      • skolvikesskol - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Dumbest comment ever…. Congratulations!

    • wildfan4513 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      @skolvikesskol… Well. You cant bring your football into a hockey conversation. 2 completely different classes of people, which we can clearly see. Mediocre is not an appropriate term to describe the Wild franchise at this point. We are a talented, fast, exciting young team that WILL be a cup contender for many years. If you were a real hockey/wild fan you would know that our owners/GM dont sit back during the offseason. Ex: Parise and Suter signings, Heatley and Setoguchi trades etc. I think and hope im speaking for every wild fan out there but we would rather save some money ( maybe add a couple players) this offseason, then next summer while all the youngsters contracts expire, resign them. They will all be great players and possible All-Stars. The wild are an up and coming franchise, clearly you don’t know that, that will win a cup in the next 2-3 years. Next time, before you comment, know what your talking about and pull your head out of yours ass.

      • skolvikesskol - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Lol, ur team of all stars won how may cups? I love how the u r sold on “hope”. Ur spending your money and time on “hope” for next year and the year after that and the year after that and…. u get the idea… u shld try winning now… its more real than ur future fantasies.

  4. rgledz - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    @skolvikes……Wow, I sure hope that people reading these comments don’t think that you represent the majority. You are clearly not a fan of the Wild, if you were you’d realize that the owner of the team is in no way afraid of spending money, i.e. the Parise and Suter signings. Clearly you are ignorant there. I think that making sure they have the cap space to extend Granlund, Coyle, Haula and Brodin in the coming year is exactly what every Wild fan would want. More so than signing an aging Vanek to a 5 year deal and watching the young guys walk because they can’t afford to keep them. Having a little foresight does not mean that they are putting a mediocre product on the ice. I wouldn’t expect you to understand that though. Tell me the last time a Minnesota sports team made it beyond round number 1 in the playoffs, then read your comment to see just how ridiculous you sound.

  5. wayoffpiste - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    skolvikesskol, please enlighten us…what do you suggest we do? With your great knowledge of hockey, and the business of hockey, what should the Wild do? Great teams are built, not bought. Yes, you can buy pieces to help build a great team, but the foundation needs to be there. You should be happy with what the organization is doing to promote long-term growth and competitiveness. Spending/wasting a bunch of money this off season will HURT us for 4-5 years to come when we can’t sign guys that are going to be great players.

    Do you know why we are the State of Hockey? It is not just because of the Wild. It is because we have the largest participation in the sport, in the nation. It is because hockey is played by more girls and boys at every level than any other state. Us Wild fans do love our team, because they do put a competitive team on the ice, they support our local and outstate hockey programs, and they are an active part in other parts of our communities. So you sir, are in the minority.

    Now, go back to football, where you can continue to be miserable about the Vikings. Its ok to rant like an idiot about professional football since that is a league riddled with idiocy.

    -One proud Minnesota Wild fan.

    • skolvikesskol - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      Thank you for making my point wayoffpiste and others. Especially you though wayoffpiste. You basically defended, justified and made a bunch of excuses for the Wild team and then went on about the old “hockey state” cliches and untruths… I love that you worry about what is going to happen in five years, rather than about winning now, when your team has never won anything. Again you prove my point about you crazy hockey fans.
      The facts are simple, the Wild have won nothing in 14 years. And yet the fans always act like they are fans of gods gift to sports, they make excuses and do not hold the team accountable for its failures. You continue to give your time and money to the biggest failures in sports. Until then it’s obvious that Illinois is the true hockey state.

  6. yetidad - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Spezza?? But, please not Vanek!

  7. rsmaggiemae - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Here is what I think should be done, trade Backstrom, get what you can for him, go after another goalie, and also draft Demko who is a very good goalie out east.
    You cannot count on Harding anymore due to his illness
    They need a big body in the middle who can score high slot tip ins
    as the Wild have no such player, I would sign Vanak for 3 years if he would take it, give him a chance, he can score goals, they are not pretty,but he is a big body, hard to move in front of the net…..
    I listened to the French press conference with Vanak out of Montreal and he admitted he played very poorly during the playoffs, but he said he had no chemistry with Pacioretyy or Plekanec and he realized how bad it looked.
    Who else can the Wild get as a big body in front of the net???
    Callahan??? I doubt it very much…
    Neal and LeTang may be on the chopping block at Pitt
    and Niskanene would be a great asset to the Wild but dont know if they can afford him
    One thing I wish this coming season is that the players not just shoot to score all the time, but set up plays off the back boards and wait for the rebound in the high slot area… the hawks practice that all the time as do the Kings….
    and the D men have got to shoot more from the point and hope for a rebound tip in
    Suter and Brodin have to take more shots from the point
    and please fix this PP just way too much passing the puck and wasting time

  8. bhinrichs9 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    I am super excited about our future. Brodin, Granlund, Coyle, Haula and Nino all are studs. Haula came out of nowhere and Granlund should be making a lot of all star games. This offseason it is enticing to want to spend big money on a scorer like Vanek, we did that once, he was a healthy scratch in some of these playoff games by the name of Dany Heatly. Callahan would be a great hard worker for us, Spezza is a hard working goal scorer but lets stay young and grab Ryan O’Reilly.

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