1. Give Mike Yeo and co. a new contract
Done! Yeo has signed a 3-year deal, and seems to have maintained a similar staff, including promoting Andrew Brunette to Assistant Manager, meaning he'll be on the bench during games. The hope is that this will improve the penalty kill... let's hope so!
2. Sort Out the Goalies
This is a little more complicated. Currently, the Wild have Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom under contract for the big club. John Curry and Johan Gustafsson are under contract and will almost certainly stay in Iowa, unless something goes horribly awry. According to Russo, both Hards and Backs are good to go at a high level, and Harding in particular looks great.
Darcy Kuemper is still negotiating for a new contract. According to Russo, Kuemper's agents are looking for a bigger number than GM Chuck Fletcher is willing to give out. Frankly, Kuemper hasn't played enough to warrant a big number. He did well for much of the season, but has some questions about him, and has only played 32 games or so. It'll be really interesting to see how this turns out.
3. Improve the Scoring Talent
Whether it was Matt Moulson or Thomas Vanek, the Wild needed to add goals. They did that when they signed Thomas Vanek to the deal of the year, 3 years at an average of 6.5 million per year.
4 Sign Nino Niederreiter, Jon Blum, Justin Fontaine, Jason Zucker
This is almost done. Jon Blum was re-signed to a one-year two-way deal. Jason Zucker was signed to a two-year deal that is two-way in the first year, and one-way the second year. Justin Fontaine, who initially filed for arbitration, signed a two-year deal for one million dollars annually (slightly less in year one, slightly more in year two).
Call this mostly-done, as Nino will likely sign before the season.
5. Take Care of Next-Years' RFA's
Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle, Christian Folin, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Marco Scandella, and Michael Keränen are all RFA's after this season. As far as we know, none have been given new contracts. This is not particularly urgent, and is more just a step to take care of business before it IS urgent. These are (hopefully) the stars of tomorrow, and it'd be nice to have them locked up before someone #OfferSheets them.
This is incomplete
6. Hang On To Draft Picks
Fletcher was close to trading one of next-year's draft picks in the second round, but hung on to them. I can't see them giving up picks for anything other than a proven piece.
So far, done... hopefully it will be (barring a Garth-Snow deal).
7. Shore Up the Bottom-Pairing Defense
This is pretty incomplete. The Wild have a lot of young defensemen, but none have proven they are capable. This season could be a chance for Dumba, Folin, or Blum. I'd feel more comfortable with a short-term contract with a veteran, but none are available. To be fair, this is also maybe the most questionable item on the list; it's entirely possible one of the youngsters is ready for The Show.
The biggest question marks going into next season, currently, are the goaltender situation, Kuemper's contract, and the bottom pairing defense. There's really nothing to be done about the goaltending; at this point, the Wild have made their plays and will have to see how the chips fall. Kuemper does need to be resigned, but to sign him to a big deal right now would be silly. He's far from the only net minder available. The bottom pairing defense is a question mark also: who will be on the team is anyone's guess. Training camp and the pre-season will likely establish who is and is not ready.
What do YOU think, Wilderness? Is there something that needs doing?