The Matt Boldy signing this week is about as exciting as midseason transactions come in the NHL. For the Minnesota Wild to lock up a fan favorite and ascending star for seven years won’t change anything this season, but it’s a major commitment for the franchise.
One look at Minnesota’s cap structure and a picture of the team’s core players is self-evident. There are two windows of contracts for the Wild: Ending in 2024-25 is a medium-term window (three years), and stretching beyond that are the franchise building blocks extended five years or more.
Set up for the long haul are two forwards and two defensemen: Matt Boldy, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin. With deals through 2024-25 are Kirill Kaprizov, Jordan Greenway, Jacob Middleton, and Jon Merrill. Also on the payroll through the end of that season is a combined $14.7-million dead cap hit for the Zack Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts, which drops to a combined $1.67 million in 2025-26.
Obviously the hope is to extend Kaprizov around summer of 2025, the time that the buyout cap hits drop off and (conspicuously) the beginning of Kaprizov’s “contract year.” In order to do that, the Wild need to show him that they’re a contender. On Jan. 15, Minnesota had in the above players the makings of their bottom-four defensemen, a versatile franchise center, and a a solid checking winger. The next day, they added a scoring winger who projects as a regular All-Star.
Boldy is the final piece to secure the top-six forward group and the power play — as Zuccarello’s twilight years loom, Boldy’s ascending star can fill that void across from Kaprizov if it’s ever required. Thinking ahead, remember that Boldy is signed through the 2029-30 season and when Kaprizov is looking at an extension in 2025, he won’t have to carry the entire offensive load if he elects to extend his contract with the Wild.
As for the defensive top pairing and the rest of the top-six forwards, Guerin has already stocked the cupboard to suit these roles. Backfilling the NHL players who will leave in free agency within the next two to three years is a prospect pool brimming with talent — Calen Addison and Brock Faber can fill out the defense corps, and Marco Rossi will be joined by a bevy of forwards looking to break into the NHL at that time as well.
With these prospects developing and a handful of years away, the cascading timeline of talent is fairly clear. Right now we have the established players on the roster, who will soon have to be handed new contracts or sign with another team (Zuccarello, Foligno, Dumba), but in their place we have our burgeoning young talent already in the NHL, and then in their place, will come the young prospects. This is the foundation that the organization has laid for lasting success and Boldy signing his new deal provides an incredible amount of stability through these multiple transitions.
The stage has been set for the next era of Minnesota Wild hockey, and Bill Guerin has announced that Matt Boldy is a cornerstone. The roster is young, the leaders are locked up, and the plan is to compete for the foreseeable future. Couple that with a robust prospect pool, and the sky is the limit for this franchise’s next decade.