Hockey

And So It Begins: Where the Minnesota Wild Go From Here

Minnesota Wild
(Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are out for the Minnesota Wild. We all had a feeling this was coming. I’ve said before it and I’ll say it again, the roster has aging players. This was the right move to make. The buyouts clear $10.33 in cap space, and allows the Wild to to freely search the open market for new players and look for trade deals. This years free agency class however, leaves more to be desired. The buyouts do not count against the cap.

However, this will not impact the situation with Kirill Kaprizov. That’s not why their clearing cap space. Kaprizov has turned down a contract worth 72 million. This just shows he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota. That is a huge problem because of everything he did for the team. Minnesota will have to start planning for life without him.

Just like Parise and Suter, the Minnesota Wild would be wise to also buyout Matts Zuccarello. At 36 years old, there is not much left for him to give. Nick Bonino is 33 and the WIld should let him walk. On the flip side, resigning Kevin Fiala is a must. Marcus Johansson is a coin flip at this point. He has never been able to recreate is 24 goal season from 2016-2017. In the past he has provided a lot of assists, but his production was way down this year with only six goals and eight assists. He is normally a center who had to play on the right wing.

Who Could the Wild Get?

Vince Dunn has been the subject of trade talks for a while. The Wild need younger defensemen to balance things out and solidify the third pair. Quinn Hughes would also fit the bill perfectly if he leaves the Canucks, even if there are improvements needed in his game. Dante Fabbro could be a candidate on the right side, while Dunn or Hughes would go on the left side. Ian Cole is also going to be a free agent, but I feel the Wild should let him walk as well.

In terms of forwards, Patirk Laine is also hitting the market after reports came out about him not being interested in staying with Columbus. He likely won’t be expensive and would fit well on the right wing on either line. Alexander Nylander, Connor Garland, and Tyler Bertuzzi are options as well. Two other darkhorse free agent names to watch are Brady Tkachuk and Jacob Vrana. One more thing to get the wheels spinning, if Matthew Tkachuk really isn’t happy in Calgary, trading for him could help land his brother and Matthew is a good player himself.

The center spot probably isn’t a big concern with Victor Rask being the oldest at age 28. The Wild need more production out of lines three and four, and now they’ll need to replace Karpisov assuming he does not come back. There’s probably no chance of this happening, but Alex Ovechkin is on the market. At least take a swing at it and make a call, what do you have to lose? The Wild aren’t that far off, but they have holes to fill. Taking care of business in the offseason could go a long way.

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