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Minnesota Wild Unrestricted Free Agents: Part Two

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Yesterday, we started our look at free agency with a look at the Wild's RFA clas, and then at Part One of the UFA class. We figured pretty much all of the RFAs will be back, but the UFAs are a different story. They have been around awhile, have earned the right to shop themselves freely, and will do so without a doubt. 

As you will notice, yesterdays peek at the UFAs included three players that no one around here is happy to see go. We understand why they are leaving, and wish them well, but we don't have to like it. Today may be a bit of a different story, but you'll have to read to find out. 

Make the jump for the final three UFAs at the NHL level, and also, Heather Galindo tells us about the Aeros UFA situation. Good stuff all around. Enjoy.

John Madden

#11 / Center / Minnesota Wild



May 04, 1973

2010 - John Madden 76 12 13 25 -9 10 1 1 4 107

Current Cap Hit: $1.25 million
Age: 37

JS: Madden: Minnesota or bust. That's what it's down to for the decorated veteran. He wants to stay and help the team make the playoffs, and honestly, i'd love another year of Madden. He's a great veteran, defensive presence and helps take some of the PK load off Koivu's shoulders. Still gives 100% each and every game, one of the only players this year I felt has done so. I don't think there's any harm in keeping Madden for another year.
Verdict: 1 year, 900k-1m.

Elise: Madden provided that veteran presence for the Wild but seemed to lag at times. If Madden's options are re-sign or retire, I think he might want one more year to go out with a better season than this last one. If he comes for cheap, I wouldn't mind seeing Madden stick around and finish out his career in slightly better fashion.
Verdict: signed.

Bryan: Madden mentioned to Russo that it is Minnesota of bust. At this point, I'm thinking it is more bust than not. Chicago may show an interest, if they can get him cheap enough, but it may be time to hang up the skates. Great guy, great player, but didn't always meet expectations, even after they were lowered. Love the guy's career, and I won't bash him, but I would love to see a young grinder get their chance over re-signing Madden. After hearing Chuck Fletcher talk about a move to "younger and faster," there is little hope for Madden. 
Verdict: No offer made

Nathan: Madden was often a step or two behind the play, unable to get his shots on target and couldn't play  shutdown defensive role, which doesn't bode well for someone who was supposed to come in, provide a bit of offense at the back, play a solid defensive forward role and anchor the PK.
Verdict: No offer made

Chuck Kobasew

#12 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Apr 17, 1982

2010 - Chuck Kobasew 63 9 7 16 -6 19 0 0 1 74

Current Cap Hit: $2.333 million
Age: 29

JS: He was actively and unsuccessfully shopped by Fletch at the deadline. He doesn't fit, he doesn't return.
Verdict: Gone.

Elise: Kobasew hasn't improved much since he got to Minnesota. He's fine for a left winger, but that's all - fine. His contract isn't worth it. The Wild are skewing younger now and Kobasew doesn't really seem to have a place on the future roster.
Verdict: not signed.

Bryan: This is where things get tricky for me. Kobasew seems like a decent guy, but he is not a very good hockey player. I defended him often, and thought the trade was a good one when it went down. Now? It may be worse than the Cam Barker trade. A high second round pick, a solid enough prospect, and a goon for a guy who put a total of 30 points on the board for the Wild. I wish him the best in the future, but not here in Minnesota.
Verdict: Don't let the door hit you on the way out. 

Nathan: I wanted nothing more than for Chuck Kobasew to pick up the opportunity dropped into his lap and run with it. However, he crapped the bed. He'd play out of his mind, 7 points in three games then vanish for a month. Not exactly what you expect when you move a second round pick for someone and give them second line time. Sorry Chuck, move along.
Verdict: He'll end up Brad Pitt's stunt double. 

Antti Miettinen

#20 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Jul 03, 1980

2010 - Antti Miettinen 73 16 19 35 -3 38 8 0 4 168

Current Cap Hit: $2.333 million
Age: 30 (almost 31)

JS: We cannot afford to keep him as a 1st liner. As a 4th liner? No problem, if he accepts the paycut. Yeo made it clear that he likes to put his players in the position to succeed, not in position that don't suit him. 1st line? Doesn't suit Miettinen. On those rare times Richards put him on the 4th line, Miettinen actually shone. Sadly, after spending 3 years as a 1st liner, I doubt he accepts a paycut to return to Minnesota. Very likely gone.
Verdict: Gone.

Elise: Everyone knows the situation with Mittens. He's an okay bottom-liner, but he's been put on top line duty with Mikko Koivu and isn't producing. If he was willing to take less money and shift down to a lower line, maybe he could be signed. But I don't think that's going to happen. And again, the Wild is going younger and giving more of the kids a shot to build the new core of the team.
 Verdict: not signed.

Bryan: Look above at the cap hit. $2.333 million, or about $1.8 million more than he is worth. Mittens is a scapegoat, I get it. Offensive woes, blame Mittens. Earthquake in Japan, blame Mittens. However, the guy could not hit the net if it were a regulation FIFA goal. Too many wasted chances, too many missed wide open shots, too much frustration skating next to one of the best set up men in the game in Mikko Koivu. 35 points on the top line is unacceptable on any team, and cannot be tolerated in Minnesota any longer.
Verdict: No way.

Nathan: On a team with bad contracts, this might actually be the worst. Sure, PMB's cap hit is awful, but he can notch 50-60 points. If Mittens had any shooting ability at all, he would be dangerous. I mean, we're talking 75 point dangerous. But he has one of the worst shooting percentages I've ever seen, and if you actually count the number of shots that were so bad that the ended up being counted as turnovers or missed passes it would be even worse. If it weren't for the fact that he's Mikko Koivu's best friend, Mittens would have been set upon an ice floe and shoved into the North Sea where his career belongs.
Verdict: GTFO.

Houston Aeros UFAs

Drew Bagnall, D

Current NHL Cap Hit: $600K
Age: 27

Heather: This is the kind of guy you want hanging around your babies. Intense, hard working, great leader. He's not so much a stay-at-home d-man as much as a "please for the love of god, DON'T SHOOT THE PUCK" defenseman. It never turns out well. But he's still absolutely aces at helping bring along the young bucks on the blue line. 
Verdict: Keep him for as long as you can unless he's asking for crazy money.

Bryan: Bagnall has a great shot at making the Wild, to be quite honest. He had a great showing at training camp, and performed well in his brief stint with the team at the end of the year. Tough, strong, able to clear the crease? Yes please. 
Verdict: Re-signed, two years. Two way deal, with $750K NHL hit. 

Nathan: A hard-nosed defenseman. This team will need one for depth, hopefully he doesn't get too expensive.
Verdict: Re-signed. Two way deal.

Robbie Earl, F

Current NHL Cap Hit: $550K
Age: 26

Heather: I love to watch Robbie play and he deserves a real chance at the NHL, which I just don't think he's going to get from Minnesota. As much as I enjoy him, I'll be disappointed if he doesn't move on to greener pastures. 
Verdict: Go west, young man. Or east. Or really anyplace that will give you a chance.   

Bryan: Can Team Rob really walk away? Who will wear the sombrero? In all seriousness, Earl deserves a chance at full time NHL minutes. He is fast, he can shoot, and he has some grinder talent as well. He'll sign on somewhere, or he'll be back with the Aeros after testing the market.
Verdict: Signed, but not here. 

Nathan: Robbie Earl never got the shot here he deserved. I hate saying that about one of the biggest divers in the history of the WCHA, but Robbie's game is exactly what this team needed. Speed, intensity, heart, passion. That's Robbie Earl. He won't sign here again, but he'll sign somewhere. Someone can always use a guy with Robbie Earl's motor.
Verdict: He'll end up somewhere

Jed Ortmeyer, F

Current NHL Cap Hit: $525K
Age: 32

Heather: You have to try and keep Ortmeyer if he's at all interested in staying. He'll want good money and he deserves it. Not only for his contributions to the scoresheet, but for his locker room presence. He's the kind of guy you want having his finger on the pulse of your team and setting examples for your youngsters. But he needs to make hay while the sun shines and the Wild are cheap about the Aeros roster generally, so...
Verdict: Love to keep him but won't be counting on it

Jean-Michael Daoust, F

Current NHL Cap Hit: $500K
Age: 27

Heather: He's signed in Europe already, but I don't know that I'd keep him anyway. Great first year in Houston but fell off sharply this season, until the playoffs.
Verdict: Gonzo.

Jamie Fraiser, D

Current NHL Cap Hit: $500K
Age: 25

Heather: He's also already signed in Europe but I think he played about half a game in Houston this season, so there's not much to say.
Verdict: Adios.

.This concludes our look at the Minnesota Wild UFA class. Next up, we begin our look at the NHL UFA class, and who the Wild might target, and a few looks at players you shouldn't even dream about. What say you, Wilderness? Any UFAs you would keep that we wouldn't, guys you would get rid of that we want to keep? Let us hear it.