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NHL Free Agency 2012: Minnesota Wild Restricted Free Agents

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He's hungry, but is he healthy?
He's hungry, but is he healthy?

Restricted free agents are the yawnfest of free agency in the NHL. There have been very few offer sheets signed by RFAs since the new CBA was signed. This is due mainly to the fact that the current team can simply match the offer. This makes it extremely unlikely a RFA is going to sign elsewhere, since a GM is loathe to negotiate a deal for another team.

This is good and bad, as teams deserve to keep the talent they drafted and developed, but it can make July 1 somewhat boring, since we all know where 99.9% of RFAs are going to be anyway. Shea Weber isn't going anywhere, for example. He may hold out, a contract might take some time, but he has no leverage to go anywhere. With his talent, teams would salivate to steal him away, but who want to give up $7.5 million a year AND four first round draft picks to get him.

For the Wild, there is a touch of excitement, as Guillaume Latendresse will likely not get a qualifying offer by the June 25th deadline. This will make him a potential UFA on July 1st, adding and air of urgency to the negotiations. The rest of the RFAs? It is highly unlikely they go anywhere than exactly where they were. Most will sign near the QO, a couple might get some raises, but everyone will be in Wild / Aeros sweaters next year.

Is that good or bad? Let's check in with our staff to see what they think.

Guillaume Latendresse

#48 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



May 24, 1987

2011 - Guillaume Latendresse 16 5 4 9 6 20 1 0 1 36

Current NHL Cap Hit: $2.5 million
Age: 25

Nathan: Lower offer, incentive-laden. $1M, incentives to $2.25?

JS: Giving him a qualifying offer would be unjustifiable, so the best bet is that the Wild wait for Lats to become a UFA and see what they can do then. Both parties have expressed the interest to keep Lats aboard the S.S.Wild. What remains to be seen is how much his play will be affected from all that time missed due to injuries. Sure, PMB barely skipped a beat when he came back from his concussion, but Lats plays a far more rough and tumble game. That being said, he has an undeniable scoring touch and if the Wild can get him back for a year in the 1 - 1.5 million range, they'd be fools to pass him up.

Jesse: Well, there's no way an offer sheet is coming, so his return depends on two things: him taking a reasonable pay cut in guaranteed dollars, and how other teams view Lats as a free agent. If he gets a big offer from someone, would he take the money and run?

Bryan: Latendresse is the first RFA in recent memory that brings any sort of debate to the table. It is clear he won't get his qualifying offer at $2.5 million. What isn't clear is if the two sides can work out a deal between June 25 and July 1 to keep him here. Russo has hinted at an incentive laden contract, which makes sense for all sides. If he'll sign from around a million for a year, do it.

Chay Genoway

#47 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild



Dec 20, 1986

2011 - Chay Genoway 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

Current NHL Cap Hit: $1.2 million

Age: 25

Nathan: Puck moving defenseman depth. Tender offer.

JS: An intriguing defensive prospect. I'd like to see him stay on board and see what he can do. Who knows? He could be the next Jared Spurgeon! 2 years, 2-way, qualifying offer of 850K.

Jesse: Personally, I would re-sign Genoway, let him play in the AHL, hope his stock rises, and deal him. He's not a top-4 defensman, and the Wild have plenty of bottom-pair guys. See if he can raise enough eyebrows to be part of a deal, or let him lead the blueline in Houston.

Bryan: There's no reason to let him walk away. He was a serviceable fill in, and should get a chance. His cap hit is reasonable, so bring him back.

Heather: Yes, sign the kid. He's not at a level where the "how much" matters a lot, but he hasn't come close to reaching his potential.

David McIntyre

Current NHL Cap Hit: $850K
Age: 25

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: Decent player, did well in Houston, I'm thinking maybe he stays here and maybe signs for two years so that he can become a UFA when he's done. 2 years, 2-way, qualifying offer of 577,500, no more than 1 million per year.

Jesse: Stop me if you've heard this one...a player in the organization who doesn't have NHL potential, but can be serviceable in the AHL...I suppose bring him back and let him eat up some 3rd-line minutes in Houston.

Bryan: You will hear this quite a bit with RFAs, but McIntyre is another guy who will be back, simply because it makes no sense to let him walk. Reasonably priced, good in Houston, sign him.

Heather: Yes. Smart guy with leadership ability. Was hot for part of the season but dropped off. Wouldn't mind seeing if he can get that magic back, but only at a reasonable price.

Nick Palmieri

Current NHL Cap Hit: $801,667
Age: 22

Nathan: Potential bottom 6 NHL talent. Tender offer.

JS: I'd like to see what this guy can do with some more time. I'd start him in the AHL unless he can win a spot out of training camp. If he can turn out to be a good bottom-6 player, the Zidlicky trade will be an even bigger win for the Wild. Of course, seeing as the Devils made the finals with him, I guess it's a win-win. 2 years, 2-way, qualifying offer of 577,500, no more than 1 million per year.

Jesse: I'm sure he'll be brought back, but I'm not sure why. I know he's young and all, but I don't see the X-factor in this kid that separates him from the pack. I predict a future of an AHL player who just didn't have that extra gear to make the NHL.

Bryan: The Wild are not going to let the kid go. He has NHL level ability to crash the net. If he could find some teammates who could get him the puck once he gets there, he might just be dangerous. Mike Yeo sent him down, so maybe he needs some extra time in Houston, but he's a hard worker. Keep him around.

Heather: Yes, though again, don't back the Brinks truck up. I haven't decided whether he's Colton Gillies 2.0 or just needs more time to adapt to the system.

Jarod Palmer

#79 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Feb 10, 1986

2011 - Jarod Palmer 6 1 0 1 -2 4 0 0 0 14

Current NHL Cap Hit: $735K

Age: 26

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: He was great before he got concussed. Let's keep him around, nice call-up option. 2 years, 2-way, qualifying offer of 771,750, no more than 1 million per year.

Jesse: Palmer will be brought back, and he'll probably be a 3rd or 4th line player.

Bryan: Palmer is one of the guys the Wild singed when they didn't have anyone else. He was playing well as a fill in, and then followed the lead of the team and got hurt. I would like to see him get some time with the Wild, so a reasonable contract should be just fine.

Heather: On the fence. He spent a good chunk of the season out with a concussion. So I'd re-sign him cheap as a gesture if he's not 100% yet, but with the understanding that he might not contribute.

Cody Almond

Current NHL Cap Hit: $643,333
Age: 22

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I really don't care. His time has passed. Good luck elsewhere.

Jesse: I would let him walk. Let some other team deal with him.

Bryan: I have to admit, I'm losing faith here. He is still an RFA, which it seems like h has been forever. Almond really needs to find a new level, because the new kids are coming, and he risks being forgotten. The Wild are not going to just let him walk, but they aren't going to give him a huge raise, either.

Heather: Yes, for an average salary. I still don't quite know what his identity is as a player. He hasn't seemed as sharp as I remember him being his first season when I thought he'd surely be a Wild by now.

Justin Falk

#44 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild



Oct 11, 1988

2011 - Justin Falk 47 1 8 9 -13 54 1 0 0 46

Current NHL Cap Hit: $605K

Age: 23

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: Definitely a keeper. He'll continue growing in his role of big, crease-clearing defenseman. Not too sure about the long run though, as the Wild will start getting some better prospects and signings. 1 year, qualifying offer of 665k, around 900k.


Bryan: Falk will be back, and will likely be on the Wild. Unless the Wild can sign Ryan Suter and another free agent top 6 d-man, Falk is likely the extra man. He's cheap, and he learned to play with size. He is still just 23, and still not to where defensemen generally blossom. No reason not to keep him.

Carson McMillan

Current NHL Cap Hit: $555K
Age: 23

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: Another call-up I liked, but he also fell victim to an injury. If nothing else, he helps in Houston. 2 years, 2-way qualifying offer of 577,500, 600-800k range.

Jesse: He'll be back for Houston in a bottom-6 role. Sure feels like I've said that a lot.

Bryan: A guy who is great in Houston. He wasn't super flashy with the Wild, but he wasn't terrible. Probably and AHLer for life, but that's not a bad thing. Tender the offer, he'll sign it in a second.

Heather: Yeah, why not? Won't be big enough bucks to matter how much, but he's a heart and soul guy that you want your prospects to be around.

Nick Johnson

#25 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Dec 24, 1985

2011 - Nick Johnson 77 8 18 26 -6 45 0 0 1 146

Current NHL Cap Hit: $550K

Age: 26

Nathan: Bottom six NHL talent. Tender offer.

JS: A pleasant surprise this season, I'm thinking he's here for another 2 years at least to compliment Brodziak. He will probably get a reasonable amount of money, in the 1.5 - 2 million range. 2 years, qualifying offer of 605k, 1.5 - 2 million per year

Jesse: Played great in a 3rd line role. Suffered when asked to play a top-6 role. He deserves a new contract, and if the team can stay healthy, I think the Wild can bank on BWCE being a solid, productive depth player.

Bryan: Just like Palmeiri, Johnson isn't going anywhere. His cap hit is ridiculously low, and he was great in his third line role. He may even deserve a slight raise above the QO. Though, if his disappearing act at the end of the season weighs in, that won't happen. He will be back, though. Count on it.

Chad Rau

Current NHL Cap Hit: $537,500
Age: 25

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: The Wild are going to need this guy for the Hockey Day games. He could also be a very reliable call-up and is a great player for the Aeros. He needs to stay. 2 years, qualifying offer of 577,500, 600-800k range.

Jesse: He can play 2nd line center for Houston and score for the Wild when it's some form of a Hockey Day. Not a whole lot of reason to let him walk.

Bryan: I like Rau. I like how he played with the Wild, too. He's not the next Gretzky, but he is definitely serviceable. Give him a bump, and play him.

Heather: Yes, and probably deserves a smidge of a raise, but for crap's sake, get the kid some talent to play with while you're at it. Kid has moves but someone's got to get him in the door.

Kris Fredheim

Current NHL Cap Hit: $530K
Age: 25

Nathan: Depth. Tender offer.

JS: Very small sample size and since I have woefully little knowledge of how Aeros players perform, I can't really tell how good he was, but he did earn a contract and I'm thinking he stays at least another year. 1 year, 2-way, qualifying offer of 577,500

Jesse: Like Genoway, he's another guy that can play solid minutes for Houston. He's not a point producer/puck mover, so he's got that working against him. Fredheim may find himself being squeezed out due to the simple fact that the Wild need guys who can start breakouts.

Bryan: Fredheim was the surprise of last season, unless you count Paul Deutsch. Singed and called up over guys like Tyler Cuma and Chay Genoway, Fredheim was a warm, fuzzy story. He played well, and got his sniff. Hopefully he'll be back at a low cost.

Heather: Yes, but again, no need to dazzle him salary-wise. Solid stay at home defenseman who is an asset in Houston.