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On the Wild’s financial future

Aug 13, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

Chuck Fletcher Getty Images

Over the last three years, few teams have been as financially aggressive as Minnesota. The team dropped a combined $196 million on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, acquired big salaries at each of the last two trade deadlines (Matt Moulson and Jason Pominville; the latter inked a $28M extension in October) and gave Thomas Vanek a three-year, $19.5 million deal in July.

One reason GM Chuck Fletcher’s been able to spend like this is because he’s had a number of good, young contributors playing on entry-level deals: Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Darcy Kuemper and Erik Haula, to name a few.

But things are about to get tight.

The Wild have roughly $8M this year to get deals done for RFAs Neiderreiter and Kuemper, and both figure to be signed in due time. Next year, though, is when things will get tricky — Brodin, Coyle, Granlund and Haula will all need new deals (as will fellow RFA Marco Scandella).

More, from the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

When Fletcher says spending too much money on players impacts other things, remember, the Wild next summer has Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella and Erik Haula – among others – to re-sign. Overpaying, say, Niederreiter even by a few hundred grand would have ramifications and likely cost the Wild on the others. That’s why Fletcher says he has to be mindful with his RFAs in a cap world. That’s also why Fletcher, later this summer and into the season, will look to try to extend the contracts of guys like Granlund, Coyle, Brodin and maybe others.

Fletcher will be looking to sign all his young players to contracts of two to four years. Short-term deals are easiest because it’s less likely neither side will make a mistake.

Fletcher’s biggest task might be figuring out a financial hierarchy for his prized youngsters. Brodin’s a gifted 21-year-old d-man that plays 23 minutes a night and has immense value. Granlund, 22, had 41 points in 63 games during a breakout ’13-14 campaign and showed legit star potential. Coyle is huge (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) and endeared himself to fans and the organization by playing through two separated shoulders during last year’s postseason. Haula is remarkably fast and was a vital contributor in the playoffs, scoring seven points in 13 games.

(Don’t underestimate Scandella’s worth, either — at 23, he’s an 18-minutes-a-night guy that had 17 points and a plus-10 rating last year.)

Looking ahead, the Wild only have 11 players under contract for 2015-16… for $50 million. Even with the cap projecting to rise, that’s still a lot of money dedicated to a core of players that aren’t the future of the club. Pominville turns 32 in November and is on the books ’til 2019; Vanek’s now on the wrong side of 30 and will make $6.5M annually for the next three years.

Add it all up, and next season promises to be an intriguing one in Minnesota — both on and off the ice.

  1. lbeezyse - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Why no talk of the expiring contracts in the coming years? Harding, Backstrom, Brodziak, Cooke,Veilluex, & Ballard. That’s roughly 13 million in the next two years off the cap.

    Couple that with the stacked pipeline & I think the Wild be just fine. Granny & Brodin expect to get the most @ what 4 million per? With the current cap situation and projected rising cap the Wild will not have troubles fitting the kids in. Fletch has done a remarkable job building this team & this is pretty much a non-story.

    The only way this becomes an issue is if a 2nd group of prospects from the Dumba, Folin, Oloffson, Bulmer et all group develops into a top 6 or top 4 dman.

    • purplove1 - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      Excellent point and post!!

    • mnguy67 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Exactly, I that will be a good problem to have if it works out that way. Koivu may be on his way out here if things get too dicey cap wise. No chance the Wild go big on another free agent for a while.

      • lordfletcher - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        The Wild will go big on another free agent as long as the term is appropriate. Fletcher can always trade other parts and pieces if a quality proven player wants to take a cut to play in MN.

    • guitarhunterdude - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      Agreed with all but the “stacked pipeline” bit. We’ve got a potential top-pair defenseman in Dumba, but outside of that, we don’t have much in the way of marquee players, or even probable NHL regulars. Bulmer is already a solid fourth liner, Olofsson should be a solid two-way second pairing defenseman, Tuch could be a solid physical second/third line tweener (a Coyle clone), and Zucker could be a decent third-line LW. There’s some work to be done before we can call our prospect cupboard “stacked” again.

      I’m assuming you’re not counting guys in the NHL who aren’t really prospects any more, of course.

    • rsmaggiemae - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      I agree with you 100 %
      I know they have been trying to get rid of Brodzy at 3 mil a year
      I doubt if Harding will last the upcoming season, and Backstrom should have neverr been signed for 3 long years
      Veilluex who is a nice guy and has always given his all on the ice is just not a top notch NHL player sorry to say…
      I do like Cooke however as he is a agitator on the ice, and Ballard is ok
      I would prefer to see Folin. Bikel given a fair chance as they are big d-men
      and I dont think Dumba is quite ready for the NHl yet maybe next year
      I would even consider trading Koivu at 6.3 a year as his game has really gone downhill and he did nothing in the last 2 playoffs and he has lost his jump

  2. fightingwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    To be honest I think Vanek was the last big signing for a couple years. I think Fletcher is going to let the core ride & develop the youngsters. Hopefully Coyle & Nino develop in to 30+ goal scorers & Haula into a legit #2 center. Even with aging vets like Parise & Pomminville etc we should still be good.

  3. lbeezyse - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    I see what you did there Mr. Halford. Touchè.

  4. lbeezyse - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    I agree unless Fletch swings a trade for a top4 stud Dman.

  5. phtjoey - Aug 14, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    their cap management concerns should ease next year if the projected upper limit of 75 mil comes to fruition. nhl financials are very healthy and they expect next year’s profit to be near 3.6 bil. nhl profit was 400 mil when GB took over the league. do you think owners have issue with paying him 10 mil per year?

  6. pjblake2redwings - Aug 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    They could trade Mikko to save some cap and give all those Wild fans exactly what they want.. to hand Parise the Captain and face of the team

    • guitarhunterdude - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      And lose our only top-line center? Not a chance.

      • rsmaggiemae - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        How can you call him a top notch center??
        he has folded over the last 2 playoffs did nothing at all on the ice../
        He gets 6 mil for the highest stat of +9 over the last 5-6 years
        compare his stats to other top notch centers and he does not even come close
        i have season tickets and I watch his play and sometimes he just disapears on the ice..
        I know he is a favorite here, but I didnt see much last year to earn the top notch
        center label
        Even the hockey gods in Canada have commented that his play is off and he does not have the jump anymore … so its just not me

    • clarke16 - Aug 15, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      There are at least 2 other C prospects on the team who are much better suited to that role than Parise. Their names are Pomminville and Suter.

  7. rsmaggiemae - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Please, Please dont let Haula go,our adopted Finnesotan
    He has speed, faster than Zukcer or Parise, has a sniper shot and loves it here
    He can play center or LW
    I watched his career at the Univ and just loved his play.

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