When we were doing our free agent target picks, there was a bit of disagreement between the Moose and I. JS believed the Wild had enough third and fourth line talent, I felt that was a big opportunity for them.
Today, the Wild made it clear that JS has no idea what he is talking about. I kid, of course, but the Wild have signed two players that are clear bottom six options. As Nathan said on Twitter, these two guys don't make them a playoff team, but in my opinion, they do make the Wild that much better in the defensive forward ranks.
Who are these two? What are their deals? What do they bring to the table? After the jump, of course.
New Deal: 2 years, $925K a year (per Russo)
Konopka is a known quantity for a few of you. For others, you have no idea who he is. Who he is is a tough as nails, gritty, punch throwing, faceoff monster. He will be your fourth line center most likely. Imagine a line of Darroll Powe, Konopka, and Matt Kassian? No one is going to want to send their top line out there. Konopka is another one of those guys that will pound your face in, but has brains in his head, ala George Parros. He is a small business owner, a rather successful one at that.
I like this signing. Nathan seems indifferent. He isn't a game breaker, but he is a solid player, and a good signing for the team.
New Deal: 3 Years, $1.9 mil a year (Per Russo)
Mitchell should be known by Wild fans. He was invovled in the Kurtis Foster crash that derailed Foster's career. Mitchell also happens to be a decent third line player with some above average speed, something the Wild do not currently have. He is listed a s a center, but is definitely a winger, so be aware of that. Again, not a guy who is a game breaker, but he is a good player with the ability to go in hard on the forecheck and disrupt a team's breakout.
The best thing about these two signings is that the Wild have made it clear that the kids like Brett Bulmer and Johan Larsson can go to Houston to develop. Welcome news. It also should make it clear to Wild fans that Chuck Fletcher does not enjoy a fourth line (and third for that matter) made up of AHLers. All in all, a couple of solid signings, but nothing that makes the Wild a playoff team.