It’s been nearly a full offseason, and the offseason for the Wild didn’t offer much in terms of excitement. The tweaks were very minor, and the team remains mostly intact. It’s tough to see this team have any different result than what we’ve already seen. Sure, there were some moves to change the locker room, as well as some to help improve the talent in the depth part of the team. And just like year’s past, this team and what it can do in the post-season largely depends on the core of Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter taking this team there.
So, to review the offseason, I’ve offered my own opinions on this offseason in to the “Good,” the “Bad,” and the “Ugly.”
The top of the list of good is that the Wild have re-signed all the players they should have and at reasonable terms.
Signing Jason Zucker, and Matt Dumba at good terms with only a modified no-trade clause, instead of a full no-trade clause is outstanding! It’s truly refreshing not to see full NTC’s handed out like candy at Halloween!
It was nice to see Nick Seeler signing for 3 years at a bargain rate. He’s a true team player with a ton of heart.
Greg Pateryn is a decent depth signing. He’s a big body that will help solidify the defense.
Lastly, unlike last year Zach Parise will not be starting this season with a bad back. If he can stay injury free this year, it could be huge for the Wild! While he only played half the season, he had enough goals for 5th most on the team.
Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu, and Zach Parise, account for 26.5% of the salary cap but only accounted for 17.7% of last year’s points and only 14% of the goals. With Suter coming back from a big injury, Parise seemingly hurt every year, and all 3 getting farther into their 30’s, the outlook doesn’t look to be much better next season.
As stated before the Pateryn signing seems to be a good thing and more than likely will pay off for the Wild. Their is one troubling thing though, and that’s the fact the guy had 50 minutes in penalties last season. Fifty minutes would have put him in second place behind Marcus Foligno for the most penalized player had he been on the team. Hopefully last year’s jump in minutes from the years before was just a fluke for Pateryn, and not indicative of other issues. It would be a shame if he returned to the habits of his 2015-2016 season. In the 2015-2016 season he had only 1 less penalty minute than last season, in less than half of the ice-time.
Without going into our first round pick which has been bashed ad nauseam, the free agent signings have been an utter fiasco. Pateryn and our re-signed players being exceptions.
Eric Fehr and Matt Hendricks?!?! Why would the Wild decide they needed to get older and slower? Yes they are both bigger players but Fehr is not known for being very physical, and Hendricks while a physical native Minnesotan is 37 years old! They have a Combined 78 games last year with 8 goals and 9 assists. Why would you waste 1.7 million on those 2? Especially when the far inferior “I haven’t played more than 55 games, or had double digit goals in 4 seasons” Eric Fehr is getting 1 million of that 1 way contract money. Very poor choices for our new GM.
Management must have figured that while they were doing poor contracts, they’d get 28 year old J.T. Brown. His last 2 years of a combined 111 games with a whopping 5 goals and 8 assists will not help the Wild at all. There goes another $687,500 of cap.
Mike Liambas is a thug and another pointless signing. All it does is open the Wild to payback when he makes a bad hit. The guy has a whole 42 minutes of NHL ice time, and during that he has accumulated 21 minutes in penalties. At least it’s a two-way contract.
Matt Read isn’t horrible for a team short on right wingers, but a 32 year old 4th liner at best isn’t anything to get excited about. Like Liambas, at least it’s also two-way contract.
The Wild could have done so much better! 5 days after Hendricks and Fehr were signed 22 year old Anthony Duclair was picked up for $650,000. In his 56 games last year he had 11 goals and 12 assists which is more than Hendricks and Fehr combined. A player that can line up on either side of the center, but is listed as a RW which the Wild need. A player who has potential, but for unknown reasons is passed by for the likes of Fehr, Hendricks, and Brown?!?!
Why not take a chance on Thomas Jurco or even Nail Yakupov? Yes the first is injury prone and the second hasn’t panned out so far. At least it would bring the team some needed speed and there is still some potential. Also if you want to see injury prone, just take a look at Eric Fehr. Both of these players are still available, but the Wild are getting short on cap space. Maybe they would do a two way contract. It’s worth a shot.
Why not look at a 25 year old Nick Shore? He’s a right hand center with 19 points in his 64 games last year, which isn’t bad considering he was bounced around to 3 different teams. With positive relative Corsi and Fenwick stats of 1.8% and 2.8% respectively, wouldn’t he have been worth a chance? Like Yakupov and Jurco, he is also still available.
Why not take a chance on an unproven rookie or 2 rather than a thug like Liambas for the Iowa Wild? Why not pick younger talent that may be a little risk with possible reward over someone proven but on the decline and about to retire? It’s the lack of chance taking that has caused the Wild to constantly be a mediocre to fairly good team for their whole existence. It’s why they took Filip Johansson over Dominik Bokk in the draft. People in Minnesota deserve more! They deserve a team that takes chances to become a championship team. Unfortunately so far Fenton hasn’t shown the initiative or ability to be any better of a GM than Fletcher was. In all fairness, it has been a short amount of time for Fenton to fully assess the situation with the Wild. This season, and next years off-season will be the true test of his ability.