The offseason got a tiny bit clearer today, as Tom Gilbert is going through the buyout process today.
Of course, it's only a little clearer in that we know that the Wild had to use the buyout to create cap room. Now the murkier questions start: Who will replace Gilbert? Can that space be used to sign Matt Cullen? Do the Wild really plan to roll with Stoner/Prosser/Dumba for their bottom line? Does this mean Setoguchi will be on his way out?
It's a shame for Gilbert, who struggled through a rough season last year, as he was a decent option at defense. Unfortunately, he was a victim of his own contract, as well as Dany Heatley's injury making it absolutely impossible to clear his cap space.
So, we've got a lot to cover, and I'll have more opinions and comments on the way.
On to the Walk
Tom Gilbert buyout process will begin with Wild; Ryan Suter a First-Team All-Star | StarTribune.com- Had to know that the Gilbert thing was coming- he has fellow alumnus Dany Heatley to thank for that- and reasonably guess that the PWHA wouldn't fuck the Suter thing up. Which isn't a given by any means.
#CullenWatch: Matt Cullen fielding calls from teams, hasn't ruled out Minnesota | StarTribune.com- I'mma just say it right now: I don't think Matt Cullen is all that essential to the 2013-14 Minnesota Wild. He had a really great year where he was crucial to the second line's success, and the Wild struggled without him. With a full training camp and another offseason for the players/prospects to develop, and develop chemistry, he should be expendable. Especially if the asking price is giving him (at the age of 36!) a three year contract at a raise. How many people wanted Cullen around at the start of last year? I know I didn't, and neither did anyone else. He had a great year, and helped the Wild get to the postseason. Thank him, and wish him luck elsewhere.
A changing of the rearguard could be in the works for the Wild | StarTribune.com- Chuck Fletcher can talk all day about him looking to wait and find bargains in free agency. If that's really his Plan A, I don't think that's a smart move at all. When your bottom three defenseman right now are the still-unproven Marco Scandella, the limited Clayton Stoner, and the proven not-that-good Nate Prosser, you get a guy you want now, and then you wait to pick up a bargain.
Minnesota Wild Place Defenseman Tom Gilbert on Unconditional Waivers - Gone Puck Wild- Gone Puck Wild updates you on the Gilbert sitch.
The Team of 18,001: Wild Buyout Tom Gilbert- And so does Giles.
Minnesota Wild Ryan Suter Named to NHL All-Star Team - Gone Puck Wild- Also, their take on this.
What Niederreiter's Departure and Clutterbuck's Arrival Means for the Islanders- The Clutterbuck trade, from the Islanders perspective.
Tending the Fields
Minnesota Wild Hope For Big Things From Acquistion Nino Niederreiter- In a roundabout way, brings up an interesting question: Where would Niederreiter have gone if he was re-entered into the draft?
Off the Trail
LA Kings’ Jarret Stoll rushed to hospital after suffering seizure | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Best thoughts/wishes/prayers to Stoll and his family.
PHWA on Ovechkin all-star vote controversy: ‘We know we got this wrong’ | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Ladies and gentlemen, the Professional Hockey Writers Association...
Will the Boston Bruins bring back Jaromir Jagr? | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Hope he sticks around. Jagr is awesome.
Pascal Dupuis foregoes free agency, re-signs with Penguins for four years, $15 million | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Way to plant, Pascal! This would be my reaction to this news were I a Pens fan. It's not so much that Dupuis is a bad player, but I just won't believe that he's much more of a product of Crosby/Malkin than his 3.75 million dollar salary would suggest.
Check out who received votes for the 2013 NHL all-star teams | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- Speaking of saying "Her?", Marek Zidlicky received an All-Star vote. Marek Fucking Zidlicky. Marek. Fucking. Zidlicky.
Phoenix Coyotes avoid relocation, stay in Glendale as city council passes arena lease | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports- Is this done yet, then? I stopped paying attention to this story when it started giving me the Dementor's Kiss.
The good and bad of signing bought-out players | Backhand Shelf | Blogs | theScore.com- Commenting on the ridiculous money that will be given to players made available because ridiculous money was given to them in the first place.
How PHWA voting blunder nearly cost Taylor Hall $1 million - The Hockey News- All I heard was, "Taylor Hall sucks so badly at hockey that a player who didn't even play Hall's position bested Hall in All-NHL voting.
Oh, also, Happy Murca Day!
Independence Day "Presidents Speech" (via Stormchaser1216)