Yesterday, we talked a bit about what the Wild should do come July 1st. Today, we take a short look at what we think the Wild will do on July 1st.
Free Agent Frenzy has not been kind to the Wild in the past. Over at First Round Bust, they did a top five free agent signing list, and I must say, it's rather depressing. When Brian Rolston is the best free agent your organization has ever attracted, the reason there is so little playoff success becomes abundantly clear. Excuse me while I go pull some people back from the cliff.
With the history of free agency in Minnesota well documented, it comes as a bit of a new frontier that the Wild would be mentioned in the same breath as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. But, those two will have likely 30 offers on their table by 11:15 AM on July 1st, and the reports are that they won't be making any hasty decisions. If that is the case, what do the Wild do all day on July 1st?
Chuck Fletcher will, undoubtedly, be where ever the Parise camp is meeting with teams. Russo mentioned on his chat yesterday that Suter will be on his farm and not meeting with teams on Sunday. That makes it easy to decide where to go. While Fletcher is wherever he is, the front office staff will be busy faxing out offers to other free agents, and trying to fill a few of the other holes left in the roster right now.
Looking at the Cap Geek salary cap calculator for the Wild, they have 20 players under contract. However, Jason Zucker is far from a lock to make the team, as is Steven Kampfer, realistically putting the Wild at 18 players signed. Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser are borderline right now, needing big camps to prove themselves, and you can bet Fletcher is going to go after a third pairing type d-man to provide some competition.
Of course, that's providing they don't land Suter.
So, the Wild need five players to fill the 23 man roster. The way I see it, it is likely two defenseman and three forwards. What style forwards depends on how Fletcher and Mike Yeo have the lines drawn up right now. They are obviously after Parise, but even if he signs, they still need to fill a third / fourth line spot or move someone like Matt Cullen down and find a top 6 style guy to take his spot.
You can fill in the names on your own with who they might go after (we did all week), but here is what I see happening on July 1:
- Offers made to Parise & Suter. Pressure exerted (as much as possible) to get a an indication if they are in or out.
- Offer made to a third / fourth line type player.
- Offer made to third paring style d-man.
- Sitting around, drinking coffee, waiting for something to actually happen.
- Watching on TSN / NHL Network as the TSN crew squirms to fill time.
- Maybe get one or two low level players to agree to terms.
- Bore the fans into thinking nothing is ever going to happen.
- Induce mass suicides throughout Minnesota.
- Send word to the media that things are still in play, and for no one to panic.
- Go to bed.
That's how I have it playing out. What say you?