The question that we asked regarding Zach Parise applies here in regards to Ryan Suter. What happens when the Wild miss out? Who do they turn to then? Are there any players out there that can help the Wild become better?
The answer, as with most things in life, is yes and no. There are players that can help the Wild get better, but only because the Wild are that bad. The drop in talent level between Suter and the rest of the pack is pretty significant, though maybe not as significant as the drop in forward talent. There are some B to B- defensemen available, and maybe the Wild can land a couple of them.
Of course, the Wild have a defensive corps mostly under contract. Anyone they add is going to displace another body, which is likely exactly what needs to happen. The kids are either going to need to step up, or Chuck Fletcher will move them in a second.
Who are the others available? We look at the first group today, the second group tomorrow.
#6 / Defenseman / Calgary Flames
Aug 16, 1978
Current Cap Hit: $3.6 million
JS: Certainly not the most appealing defenseman on the market, he could still be a good veteran presence on the Wild's very young blueline. With Schultz gone, the ''veteran'' is Tom Gilbert right now. Meh. Sarich is a big, decent stay-at-home defender and will likely take a pay cut due to age (33) and last year's offensive numbers (7 points). I think he should be considered later rather than sooner though, as the Wild should concentrate on bigger fish.
VERDICT: If most good defensemen are gone, 1-2 years, 2.5-2.75 million per.
Bryan: If Sarich is the option, my bet is Chuck Fletcher stands pat on defense. Solid player, but I just don't know that he provides anything they don't have already. I think Justin younger, much cheaper option. I wouldn't be upset if he were signed, but... eh.
Current Cap hit: $2.125 million
JS: He's decent, but he's an injury concern every. single. season. The Wild need physicality and offense from the blueline right now and Colaiacovo is painfully average in both aspects. He's a jack of all trades, but master of none, really. It could be worth a shot, but I think the Wild should concentrate elsewhere.
VERDICT: If no one else is available, 1-2 years, around 2 million per year.
Bryan: It's difficult to trust a player that doesn't even have a SB Nation player data widget, you know what I mean? He did, however, once win the fastest skater competition in the NHL All Star Game, once again proving how useless the NHL All Star Game is.
In all seriousness, his game seems to have ebbed quite a bit, but he is still young by D-man standards, so maybe there's a chance here. He's not terrible, but he isn't the greatest out there either. If Fletcher feels the Wild need a slight upgrade, maybe Colaiacovo is it.
Verdict: No more than two years, no more than $2.5 million per.
Current Cap Hit: $2.075 million
JS: He played last season in the AHL. I don't really see him as an option or an improvement over what the Wild already have. Pass.
Bryan: This seems like a much better idea than it likely is. Maybe the kid is hungry. Maybe he has something to prove. Maybe he was once a third overall pick. Maybe only two of those are true.
#32 / Defenseman / Phoenix Coyotes
Sep 03, 1978
Current Cap Hit: $5 million
JS: I've always liked Rozsival, but this was not his year. Missed a couple of games, low offensive output, basically invisible in the playoffs, all capped off by taking a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Dustin Brown. He's definitely on the downswing of his career. I think the Wild should look elsewhere. It's a damn shame though.
Bryan: If you had told me that Rozsival had a $5 million cap it without having Cap Geek to verify it, I would have thought you were nuts. With his point production, he would have to be the best shutdown d-man in the NHL to justify continuing that pay level, and I don't think that's going to happen at this point. The guy can play the game, but can he play it at a level worthy of $5 million? I have my doubts.
Wouldn't mind seeing him as a Yoda for the kids, though.
Verdict: No more than 2 years, no more than $3 million per.
What say you, Wilderness? Anyone appealing here? Anyone you want us to be sure to cover tomorrow?