It's the most wonderful time of the year! Every team can improve in a hurry through free agency. Sure, the draft is sexy and fun. It's nice to look at the new models and dream about what could be, but when it comes down to it, that's more of a pipe dream. When you really want to see the future, you look at July 1st.
Pending UFAs: Marian Gaborik, Stephane Veilleux, Krystopher Kolanos, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Kurtis Foster, Martin Skoula, Tomas Mojzis, Nolan Schaefer
Pending RFAs: Dan Fritsche, Benoit Pouliot, Danny Irmen, Peter Olvecky, Josh Harding
Salary cap space: $13.98-million
Projected budget: $56.8-million
Key needs: Scoring, faceoffs, scoring, oh and a big-body defenseman would be nice. Buddha discussed the current Wild UFA forwards and defensemen previously. If Marian Gaborik signs elsewhere, then this team really needs to fill the scoring gap, and it would likely have to be filled by two guys (Sedins) though we need one fewer center now that Fletcher picked up Kyle Brodziak on trade day two.
Chuck Fletcher and Craig Leipold know that the way this team will improve over the next three or four years is through free agency
The Wild plans to experiment in training camp with moving right winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard back to his natural center position, but the team will also attempt to sign a second-line center behind Mikko Koivu.
The intended target will be Mikko's older brother, Saku, the longtime Montreal Canadiens captain.
The Wild needs defensemen, especially if Martin Skoula, Marc- Andre Bergeron and Kurtis Foster are allowed to walk. It wouldn't be surprising if Fletcher pursued two or three he's familiar with -- perhaps Francois Beauchemin or Rob Scuderi. - Michael Russo, Star Tribune