Friday, June 27, 2014

Minnesota WIld: Free Agency Pondering

Michael Russo from the Startribune has some more free agent nuggets today. I love this time of year, this is where the big free agency moves happen. It will be interesting to see what the Wild do next week. I am excited about some of the names that are being thrown around.
Michael Russo, Russo’s Rants – Fletcher did set up meetings in Philadelphia with Thomas Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, and Matt Niskanen’s agent, Neil Sheehy, who helped deliver Ryan Suter to the Wild in 2012. Remember, it was at the St. Paul Airport where I was hiding in the bushes behind a fence (I wish I was exaggerating) and witnessed Fletcher, Craig Leipold, Mike Yeo, Suter’s financial advisor Tom Sagissor and Sheehy get off of Leipold’s private plane after meeting with Suter in Madison.

Leipold’s plane then gave Sheehy a ride back up to International Falls and about 18 hours later on July 4, Suter and Zach Parise were officially signed on the dotted line.

Well, perhaps Sheehy will soon ink another one of his clients on the Wild.

According to sources, the Wild has significant interest in Niskanen, 27, the right-shot defenseman who had a career year in Pittsburgh. But so do other teams, so it’ll be interesting to see how high and how long the Wild’s willing to go. Remember, you can only allegedly talk in general parameters about a contract but nothing can be binding until Tuesday after 11 a.m. CT. Niskanen is 100 percent going to become a free agent.

As for Vanek, he has made big money, so the question is how much does he want to play in Minnesota. I believe the Wild would love him to sign a contract between one to three years so it can also fill two holes.
I am glad that the Minnesota Wild are looking at adding another high-end defenseman. I wrote about this subject over on the Hockey Wilderness. Matt Niskanen would really look good in a red Minnesota Wild jersey. I am sure that Running with The Dogs would love the move as well.
In my humble opinion, the Minnesota Wild are a player or two away from having a really good d-corps. If the Wild could add a high-end free agent defenseman, and delete a defenseman (or two) they could shore up their d-corps substantially. While some might

disagree with me, I think that the Wild are a bit thin on blue line, and their top-six defenders could use an upgrade.

Perusing my twitter feed, a fair number of Wild fans have suggested that the Wild forget about signing the former Golden Gopher Thomas Vanek, and attempt to sign UFA Matt Niskanen during the 2014 free agent signing period. I don't think it's bad idea at all. However, based on how the former Bulldog played this past season, he's not going to come cheap, either. In 81 games with the Pittsburg Penguins, Niskanen scored (10g-36a-46pts). He was also a plus/minus rating of plus-33.

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