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NHL Free Agency 2012: Minnesota Wild UFA Forwards

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This has to buy the guy a contract, doesn't it?
This has to buy the guy a contract, doesn't it?

In years past, the UFA class for the Minnesota Wild has included names like Marian Gaborik. This year, well, that is not the case. The Wild's UFA class of forwards is made up of the grinder type players that work hard, get the job done, and receive very little credit in the box scores or in the stands. These are the guys that probably don't make or break a team individually, but certainly make or break a team collectively.

Enforcers, third and fourth line guys, call-ups... the guys no one bats a eye at throwing under the bus, but no one can play the game without. The 2012 UFA class for the Wild is nothing "special," but we look at the m anyway, knowing that some of these guys have had an impact on the organization, and could do so again if re-signed.

Eric Christensen

Current NHL Cap Hit: $925K
Age: 28

Nathan: Let him walk.

JS: Kind of a shame the Wild didn't give him a full year opportunity, but them's the breaks.

Jesse: Have fun in Mother Russia...

Bryan: There are about three people who are going to miss this guy. His mom is one of them. Extra seventh round pick, baby.

Jed Ortmeyer

#41 / Right Wing / Minnesota Wild



Sep 03, 1978

Current NHL Cap Hit: $525K
Age: 33

Nathan: Depth, tender low offer

JS: He's pretty much another one I don't care for. Sure, he may be good for the Aeros, but I don't want him as a call-up. 1 year, 2-way, 600-800k ... of course, I'd prefer he just leave.

Jesse: He's cheap and he's a warm body. He fills a 4th line role, but there are plenty of bodies the Wild have that can do that. Unless he fills some type of leadership/veteran role in the locker room, I would say let him walk. Plenty of younger guys that can fill his role.

Bryan: I know he's a great AHL guy, but at the NHL level, he is nothing special. I can see the Wild bringing him back, and I can see them letting him walk. Either way, I understand completely.

Heather: He was so invisible with the Wild, but I don't know a single person who wouldn't be happy for the Aeros to have him back. Low NHL salary + high AHL salary is what I would hope for

Jon DiSalvatore

Current NHL Cap Hit: $537,500
Age: 31

Nathan: Depth, tender low offer

JS: Definite leader in Houston, keep him around. 1-2 year, 2-way, 600-750k range.

Jesse: I would be really surprised if the brass doesn't bring DiSalvatore back to lead Houston again. He's a veteran, great character guy, and can teach the kids how to be successful at the next level.

Bryan: He'll be back. The guy is the captain of the Aeros, has been the heart and soul of the team, and now they are bringing in prospects he can work with? He needs to be there. Not saying give him the moon, but bring the guy back.

Heather: Yeah, if he wants to stay and he and Torchetti work well together (was never quite sure), then I'd support him sticking around. He works hard, is a good captain, and really never gets any reward for it, NHL-wise. He only made $130k last season in the AHL and deserves a raise.

Warren Peters

Current NHL Cap Hit: $537,500
Age: 29

Nathan: Let him walk.

JS: I have nothing to say about him. Go bother another team.

Jesse: It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Peters. The Wild are going to have a log jam at center. Hell, even Houston is about to become crowded up the middle of the ice. Maybe a one-year deal is in the cards to hold down a 4th-line center position, but there has to be better options on the UFA market.

Bryan: Suspensions at the NHL level is not a good way to stick around. He was decent with the Wild, but he is the type of guy I can see getting a promise somewhere else. If I were a betting man, he's gone.

Heather: Similar to Ortmeyer, I like his presence in the AHL, but am not a fan as an NHLer.

Stephane Veilleux

Current NHL Cap Hit: $525K
Age: 30

Nathan: Cheap, bottom 6 talent. Low offer.

JS: I think he earned another shot in Minnesota. At the very least as a call-up. Gotta love the energy he brings, as brought in his previous time in Minnesota and will continue to bring until he retires. 1 year, 2-way, under a million.

Jesse: The guy showed heart and some real grit at the end of a lost season. I wouldn't mind seeing him come back on a 1 or 2-year deal to play the same role.

Bryan: I can't imagine he's a top priority for Chuck Fletcher, and another team might just scoop him up, but you you never know. I'm an unabashed fan of Veilleux, and I hope he gets to stick around, but I'm not fooling myself.

Jeff Penner

Current NHL Cap Hit: $525K
Age: 25

Nathan: Let him walk.

JS: I have no clue how well he performed in Houston. I honestly don't know here. 1 year contract?

Jesse: I could make a case for bringing him back, and I could make a case for letting him walk. I feel like the blueline for the Wild/Houston is getting crowded, but Penner has produced in Houston. Maybe he's dealt for a late-round pick...?

Bryan: I can see them making an offer. He'll either take it, or go elsewhere. There won't be any negotiating. Take it or leave it. He is still young, but he isn't anything worth worrying about.

Heather: No. He's dispassionate, injury prone, and the only thing I've enjoyed about him in Houston is his nice hair and smart style in eye glasses. He's a nice guy but I don't want him on the blue line for my team.

Matt Kassian

#28 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild



Oct 28, 1986

Current NHL Cap Hit: $512,500
Age: 25

Nathan: Bottom 6 talent. Low offer.

JS: While people seemed scared to fight him, that's actually kind of a good thing because it keeps his opponents honest. Seemed to get better every shift. Definitely keep him around. 2-3 years, 2-way, close to a million per year.

Jesse: Better bring the guy back. Someone needs to pound Darcy Hordichuk's face in.

Bryan: I like Kassian, if for no other reason than Adrian Dater can't stand him. If the Wild feel they need an enforcer, Kassian is the guy. He isn't a liability, he is as tough as nails, and has a bit of touch, but I can also see another team making a stupid offer here.

Jeff Taffe

Current NHL Cap hit: $600K
Age: 31

Bryan: Taffe is a decent guy, but his game doesn't seem to fit here. Too bad, but that's how life works sometimes. Too many young guns coming in. My bet is Taffe may be nearing the end of his road.

Jesse: He'll probably get the squeeze from the young guys coming into Houston. Maybe he's brought back by the Aeros to play bottom-6 minutes.

Heather: Emphatic NO. Unmotivated and a bad example for the kids. Let him dupe some other AHL team out of $200k next season.