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Wild open to giving Niederreiter more than bridge contract

Jul 13, 2014, 12:19 PM EDT

Nino Niederreiter Getty Images

Nino Niederreiter was never able to firmly establish himself with the New York Islanders, but he was given a new opportunity after the Minnesota Wild acquired him last summer and so far he’s taken advantage of it. He scored 14 goals and 36 points in 81 games last season.

He’ll try to build off of that in 2014-15, but first he has to agree to a new contract now that his entry-level deal has expired. The restricted free agent seems like a prime candidate for a two-year bridge deal, but Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is open to signing him for longer if that’s what Niederreiter wants. Fletcher cautioned though that a longer deal would be more difficult to iron out.

“But we’re open to any scenario, and we’ve expressed that,” Fletcher added, per the StarTribune. “We’ll see how it goes, but as long as the numbers make sense, we’re prepared to do anything within reason. Probably anything between two to four years would be the most logical. I think beyond four is incredibly hard to figure out and one year doesn’t seem to make any sense.”

Young players don’t always like bridge contracts, but they’re popular because it’s hard to accurately predict what path a young players career is going to take. If he agrees to a two-year deal, then his next deal will likely be far more representative of what his worth is. If he conversely agrees to a longer-term contract, then there’s the risk that he might end up getting significantly under or overpaid in the later years of the deal.

  1. lbeezyse - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Thanks for taking the overrated Clutterbuck off our hands and giving us the under utilized Nino. Our game 7 sniper that sent the Avs packing. I am cool with a 4 year 12-15million deal for Nino. We also need to lock up Coyle, Granny, Haula, Brodin, Fontaine, Keumper, Scandella,Zucker. Fletch has work cut out for him this year and next.

    • wutangwild - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      I don’t see him resigning Fontaine, and Zucker is still up in the air. Granlund, Kuemper, Haula and Brodin are musts, I’m just still not sold on Coyle yet either. Scandella should also get a deal

      • fightingwild - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        Fountain is going to arbitration. He will get signed. As for his noext contract who knows. Of course the Wild could walk away from his award if it is to high & then he is a free agent.

      • credible316 - Jul 13, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        To me it seems like Zucker has a negative vibe with management or just Yeo.

      • homegrowntalentmn - Jul 13, 2014 at 5:51 PM

        Agree on coyle. He needs to use his size more! Seems like every game I was yelling for him to hit someone. Finish your checks buddy.

      • thaddikus - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        Coyle is exactly what the Wild want in players. Versatility with size and skill. Both know that he skill shines when he uses his size. Nearly every interview about Coyle its mentioned. Remember he had two separated shoulders in the playoffs, his grit was pretty well neutralized.

      • wutangwild - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Very true on all fronts, fellow Wild fans. I don’t wanna go all blomfield on here but youtube “Charlie Coyle The Shift”…he can be a beast when he wants to. And Zucker is definitely in Yeo’s doghouse. Can you imagine a third line of Holla and Zucker? That would be fun to watch and numerous breakaways

    • clarke16 - Jul 13, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      $12-15M is too much on a 4 year deal for Nino at this point. I can’t see anything more than a bridge deal making sense here, anyway. 2 years–$4.5M.

    • tuberippin - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:32 AM

      Still can’t believe we traded him for friggin’ Clutterbuck.

      I mean, I sort of can. I am an Isles fan, after all.

      • wutangwild - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        I feel bad for you Isles fans. First Milbury, now Garth Snow. Letting the Spurgeon General go, the Nino/Clutter trade. You guys deserve better. Fletcher should be in prison for grand larceny for that trade

  2. wutangwild - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I don’t care how it happens but SIGN HIM! He seems to like it here, and has a ton of upside. Hope to see him get his share of top 6 minutes but Yeo seems to favor Coyle over him. Hope to see you in a Wild sweater for many years to come, Nino

    • lordfletcher - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      agreed but I think there is a lot more to Coyle’s game that we are yet to see. That kid will either remain what he is, a potential 40 point skater or he may turn beast mode on. With the current roster, I would like to see the top 3 lines share minutes as they are all very solid and the youth needs as much time as they can get.

      Random: Last night I went to the Imagine Dragons concert at the ‘Bank’ (cough- where the outdoor game should happen – cough). concert was amazing … and as I was walking around to our gate, I noticed lou nanne and Chuck Fletcher. Instantly I turned into a kid at X-Mas and had to walk up and say a quick hello and shake some hands, took up about 15 seconds of their time, didn’t want to look like a psycho. Noticed Lou is now using a cane, when I saw him last year he wasn’t, hope he is doing well.

      • wutangwild - Jul 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Yea Coyle has displayed flashes of being an absolute tank and i’ve seen him go 1v2 on board battles and come out with the puck. Between him and Nino those are two solid power wing types who are still very young.
        Haha I went to the scrimmage last friday in Edina, and I saw Yeo, Fletch and Cookie was there as well. I briefly talked to Fletch but I more than likely jumbled a few words together and that was that. In retrospect I probably came across like a psycho

  3. lbeezyse - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I think both Taine & Zuck come back on 1-2 yr deals. Fontaine is a team player than can be plugged in on all 4 lines. I agree that I am not sold on Coyle yet. He has shown some great flashes, but I feel Nino has better overall skill.

    • strictlythedanks - Jul 13, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      Yup the fonz is a guy who wont wow you with any one part of his game, but consistently put points up for a team that struggled to score. I hope we can reacha deal with him.

    • fightingwild - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Coyle is going to break out this year, just watch & see. As long as he does not have a significant injury I think he we net 20+ goals. Just a feeling.

      • guitarhunterdude - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:24 AM

        If he’s getting the same linemates, ice time, and powerplay time that he was last year, he’d better have 20 goals at minimum. He was a pretty big disappointment this year.

      • fightingwild - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        How can he be considered a disappointment? He is 22 years old & was in his first full NHL Season. I think that is unreasonable. Plus he suffered a significant injury at the start of the season. If it is so easy, you go do it.

      • clarke16 - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was a *pretty big disappointment* but he certainly underperformed expectations. The sit-down Yeo had with him late in the season helped his game a lot. He’s young and he’s learning. I see a player there if he can stay healthy…

  4. purpleguy - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    If Fletch does the 2 year bridge contract, and Nino carries over the way he played in the playoffs, that third contract will be a nice one. He outplayed/outworked Coyle toward the end of the playoffs, but apparently Coyle had no shoulders left by then.

  5. bhinrichs9 - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I like Fontaine, he puts pucks in the net, I have not seen enough of Zucker but I would take Fontaine over him from what I have seen. Coyle, like Granlund will make that next step. I think Nino will carry our back end like he did at the end of last season. He never takes a shift off and plays hard.

  6. rsmaggiemae - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    But according to the CBA rules, if the Wild give him a bridge contract then Vaneks, salary will not be counted against the salary cap … so it would make sense to do so, but if they cant then sign him but 12-14 mil is too much . maybe 8-10 mil he needs more experience
    But they have to sign my fav Haula for sure….

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