There are always two classes of free agent forwards. There is the Zach Parise and Alexander Semin type guys, the ones that get the headlines and the cameras. Then, there are the guys that every team needs, but no one wants to admit they need. The shut down guys, the enforcers, the grinders.
If you look at the Cap Geek cap calculator, the Wild need a couple guys to fill out the bottom six. Chuck Fletcher has not ever indicated he is willing to simply hand a position to a rookie, so some competition may be in the cards. While there are only a couple top end guys, there is a bounty of role players available, so maybe you get a guy for a decent price, and you bring him in.
Or, pass on them and let them go somewhere else. Just don't be surprised to see these guys on Free Agent Frenzy, either.
#12 / Left Wing / New Jersey Devils
Apr 09, 1980
Current Cap Hit: $1.5 million
JS: Meh. He was a third/fourth liner on the Devils, which would likely make him a second liner on the Wild sadly, but I have absolutely no interest in seeing him in a Wild jersey and he's likely getting a raise for being a SC finalist.
Bryan: Ponikarovsky is a bit of an enigma. He would be a solid third liner, if the third line becomes a hybrid scoring / checking line. He can skate, he can play, but he has never been a stud. He is reaching the end of his NHL career, and may have better offers from his former squad back in Russia. If the Wild are looking for a role player with a scoring touch, Poni might be their guy. No way I would go long term here, though.
Verdict: 1 year, $1.75 million max.
#17 / Center / San Jose Sharks
Jan 30, 1985
Current Cap Hit: $1.366 million
JS: We have enough plucky bottom-six players. Sure, he's one of the best bottom-six players available, but I don't really see how he improves the team unless he replaces Nick Johnson for a year. The Wild COULD use him as an extra body in case of an injury tsunami of last season's magnitude though. He's a pretty versatile player. What it comes down to though, is if Fletch signs Mitchell, why didn't he just keep Johnson instead? He'll be close to the 2 million range, which is a bit much. If there's potential for a cheaper deal, I'd be fine with it.
VERDICT: Personally, I'd pass, but a short, inexpensive deal to let the baby Wild grow wouldn't be the end of the world.
Bryan: It would be a bit of serendipity if Mitchell ended up with the Wild in the same year the Wild cut loose Kurtis Foster again. That said, Mitchell is definitely a third line capable NHLer. He's proven himself with the Sharks in exactly the type of role the Wild would need him in. This is an intriguing possibly to me.
Verdict: I'd offer a couple years at about a $1.5 million cap hit.
#16 / Center / Colorado Avalanche
Mar 02, 1983
Current NHL Cap Hit: $1.45 million
JS: Widely known as one of the better defensive forwards in the league, but sadly, the Wild have enough of those. They should concentrate on scoring and defense from the blueline.
VERDICT: Bad timing, so pass.
Bryan: I'm going to disagree a bit with JS here. While scoring is certainly an issue, the Wild need a solid defensive forward. A line of, say, Darroll Powe, McClement, and Stephane Veilleux would be really tough to play against. Or move Matt Cullen to the third line wing, and add McClement in between Cullen an Cal Clutterbuck? I think McClement would be a good pick up for the Wild.
Verdict: 2 years, $1.6-$2 million cap hit
#18 / Center / San Jose Sharks
Aug 03, 1980
Current Cap Hit: $1.1 million
JS: I've always liked Moore. There's no fit for him in Minnesota though.
Bryan: How much is a second round pick worth? Do the Wild need a extra second round pick next year? How many more jokes can I make about second round picks? Moore would be a solid addition, as long he isn't going to be the make or break player. He's a solid bottom six guy, and if the Wild feel they need someone in that role, there are worse options than Moore.
Verdict: One year, no more than $1million
#16 / Right Wing / Anaheim Ducks
Dec 29, 1979
Current Cap Hit: $875K
JS: Nah. We have Clutterbuck for the hits and the 'stache and Kassian for the fisticuffs.
Bryan: on a selfish level, it would be great to have one of the best DTBLers on the books come to Minnesota. I just don't know if I can picture Parros anywhere but Anaheim, though. If Kassian can't get a deal worked out by Sunday, or some other GM comes calling for Kassian, Parros is a solid option for a fourth line / enforcer if that is something Fletcher thinks he needs. With Mikael Granlund and the kids coming up, maybe someone to protect them wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Verdict: 1 year, less than $1 million
Your thoughts, WIlderness? Anyone here you might consider to fill in the bottom six?