Monday, June 16, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Vanek not a slam dunk now.



Perusing the Web, it looks like the Wild aren't going to through a lot of money at free agents this summer. Former Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek, who once looked like a slam dunk to come to Minnesota, might not be headed here after all.
Mike Russo, StarTribune -- The Wild has a lot of players 28 and older, a lot of players 24 and younger. You don’t want to get too many players north of 30 on long-term deals, so there’s a specific price point I think the Wild’s willing to reach with Vanek. I don’t get the impression the Wild’s willing to sign him to a long-term deal anymore. Vanek will have good options in free agency, so is he really going to sign in Minnesota for two or three years? Hard to believe, especially after reportedly turning down a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Islanders. While that contract probably won’t be on the table with any team anymore, he certainly should still be able to get decent term of four or five years with some teams.

Some fans who email me or tweet me are clamoring for Paul Stastny. He was outstanding against the Wild in the playoffs and his competitiveness and work ethic would be a perfect fit in my opinion on a Wild team who’s M.O. at a minimum in the playoffs was hard work. BUT, he will command bigtime money and term AND I still believe he’ll re-sign in Colorado once the Avs figure out a way to move some money in the next few weeks.
We already knew that the slow footed Dany Heatley Won't be back. With his cap hit gone, the Wild do have a few options to pursue. I am excited for the Free Agency Signing period. Should be interesting.
Michael Russo, StarTribune -- Fletcher will investigate the trade market, but he doesn’t want to trade this year’s first-round pick or “kids we worked so hard to accumulate.” If he delves into free agency, there are two methods to add more offense — a scoring forward or an offensive defenseman.

Maybe that means former Gopher and current Stillwater resident Thomas Vanek, Paul Stastny or Ryan Callahan or maybe that means defenseman Matt Niskanen, a Minnesotan who is only 27 and had a career-best 10 goals, 46 points and plus-33 with Pittsburgh this past season.

But Fletcher says the Wild’s at a stage where it doesn’t have to chase players. There is a specific price point and term the Wild’s willing to reach.

“While this year we have a lot of cap space, things could tighten up over the next two to three years,” said Fletcher, referring to the fact some youngsters could be looking at big paydays. “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.”

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