The key word in the title above is should. What teams should do, and what they will do during the free agent frenzy are two completely different things. The situation for the Wild is complicated, as pointed out by Bruce on Twitter this morning and others in the comment section over the past few days, by the fact that the Wild actually have prospects coming through the system.
To parrot Bruce's question... do you feel comfortable locking up a free agent (not name Zach Parise or Ryan Suter) for a contract that only happens in free agent frenzy mode and wind up blocking one of the kids down the road? Or, as some people have asked, do you just throw Charlie Coyle or Jonas Brodin into the mix and let them develop with the big club?
One of the other questions that have to be asked is, do you you sign a free agent from a rather weak class this year, when you could make a trade to get by, let the kids develop, and sign free agents next summer?
You get to be the GM. What do you do?
Looking to the Future
For me, I believe the children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Or, you know, something not quite such a direct rip off of a cheesy Whitney Houston song. The point remains. After James Sheppard and Benoit Pouliot, this organization needs to stay committed to proper development of prospects. I do not feel that any of the prospects, shy of Mikael Granlund, are ready for the NHL. Brodin might surprise me, but I doubt it.
This is not the time to jump ship and throw these kids to the wolves. Even if it means a losing season, the kids need to develop. It would be better to have a losing season with some free agents signed to short deals, and having a winning season in Houston, rather than have the kids come into a losing situation and learn to lose.
2013 Free Agents
One of the fun things to do when researching this year's free agent class is to look at next year's free agent class. The list is led by several players reaching the end of the line. Kimmo Timonen, Sergei Gonchar, Lubomir Visnovski. Yet, if you stick with the list, you get to guy like Ryan Getzlaf and Correy Perry, Mike Fisher, Scott Hartnell, Ryan Clowe... You know what isn't on the list? Real help at defense.
The Wild have Brodin close to the NHL. After that... well, there's... and... To be honest, there isn't much. They added Matt Dumba, but Dumba is years away, and we aren't talking two years away. Two years would be a blessing. There are still guys like Tyler Cuma in Houston, but at what point do we just fully accept he isn't the answer?
In other words, the Wild need help at D, and for the near future, that isn't coming from Houston.
So, Bruce's question comes back around. Are you willing to grossly overpay for a free agent not named Ryan Suter? Would you drop $6 million a year on Matt Carle? Jason Garrison? You have a trade you want to make to bring in someone else?
What should the Wild do? They need help on the blue line. That needs to be addressed. They should go hard after Suter and Carle. Both of them. They should also go after Garrison and hope one of the three will sign here, and that they are worth the money. It would be a bitter pill for Wild fans to swallow for a D-man to make 6 mil per while their captain make 6.5, but such is life.
The type of d-man the Wild needs is going to cost a fortune through trade, so it may be necessary to take a deep breath, accept the reality and bite the bullet on Carle or Garisson at a ridiculous number.
Thanks for that, Calgary.