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hf101

Wild 2016 Off Season : Adding Size and Grit

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The Wild created some cap space for FA day by buying out Vanek and made two cap friendly deals.  Signing center Eric Staal on a 3 year $3.5M deal gives them the depth and experience at center that has been lacking in the organization.  This means that both Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund will play wing.  The move to wing should help with Granlund's contributions on the scoreboard.  I think the Wild got the best center for the money in Staal.   Backes was high on their list but I think Staal is a better offensive center for which the Wild desperately needed.   Staal will look to rejuvenate his play now being able to go back to playing center on either of the top two lines giving a much needed break to Koivu.

 

Adding Chris Stewart to a cap friendly 2 year $1.15M/yr gives the Wild some grit and a good team player who can be moved up and down the line-up.   They also added Alex Stalock to be the #3 goalie and will get regular starts in Iowa to get his game back in line.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26

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2 hours ago, hf101 said:

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The Wild created some cap space for FA day by buying out Vanek and made two cap friendly deals.  Signing center Eric Staal on a 3 year $3.5M deal gives them the depth and experience at center that has been lacking in the organization.  This means that both Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund will play wing.  The move to wing should help with Granlund's contributions on the scoreboard.  I think the Wild got the best center for the money in Staal.   Backes was high on their list but I think Staal is a better offensive center for which the Wild desperately needed.   Staal will look to rejuvenate his play now being able to go back to playing center on either of the top two lines giving a much needed break to Koivu.

 

Adding Chris Stewart to a cap friendly 2 year $1.15M/yr gives the Wild some grit and a good team player who can be moved up and down the line-up.   They also added Alex Stalock to be the #3 goalie and will get regular starts in Iowa to get his game back in line.  

 

 

 

 

 

 All really solid moves. Addition by subtraction buying out Vanek, who just stunk during his tenure with the Wild. Stall was a good move, on the downward slope of his career, but still an upgrade at center. The length and cap hit were very respectable. The Wild really improved yesterday. Chris Stewart can drop them and score if put in the right situation.

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Very happy with the Wild's off season moves thus far.

 

Even if the Wild did nothing else except rid themselves of Vanek's contract and cap hit, I would have considered it a good off season. Adding Eric Staal and Chris Stewart (who probably should have been retained when they first got him) is just gravy!

 

Is Staal that missing #1 center the Wild have been needing? Not so sure.

Don't get me wrong, I think he has plenty of hockey left in him and CAN play top six minutes, but his play in recent years has suggested that he may not be more than what he has shown (in streaks) when he is at his best.

Of course, he has been on some pretty bad Carolina teams most of his career (and didn't seem particularly comfortable playing with the Rangers), so perhaps playing with an overall better group of players in Minnesota will help rejuvenate him. I'd be happy with with 20-25 goals, 50-55 points from this guy......maybe he gives the team a bit more too...

 

As for Stewart, I suspect he will take the roles guys like Stoll, Carter, or Porter had last season..with perhaps more top 9 minutes than those guys did.

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@hf101

 

Was gonna start a Minnesota Wild off season thread, but this one started was heading in that direction, so modified the title and voila, instant Wild off season thread.

 

Ok, so here I go.....

 

Nothing crazy obviously by Minnesota. Nothing crazy was needed....unless of course, it was to make a trade with the Flyers that sees Claude Giroux end up in a Wild uniform as their undisputed #1 Center........ hey, I can petition, can't I??  :eyeroll:

 

But anyways, on to what REALLY is going on.... Eric Staal as the #1 C.

I said previously I am not so sure about that and that still holds true for the most part.

 

Upon closer inspection of his production over the last several seasons however, I see where DESPITE being on some awful Carolina teams, he put up about as decent a set of numbers one could  hope for. Last season, between the Canes and Rangers, was his lowpoint...but should I not have faith in him that last year was just a hiccup on an otherwise pretty good NHL career?

 

Here is to hoping that playing with a better crop of forwards and defensemen in Minnesota helps his case.

Also, unlike the Rangers, he will enjoy a more permanent situation to get to know his teammates and thus his comfort level should be much better.

 

If all goes well, Minnesota could have a top 9 that looks a bit like this:

1-- Parise -  Staal - Pominville/Coyle

2-- Zucker - Granlund - Coyle/Pominville

3-- Haula/Stewart - Koivu - Niedderreiter

 

 

Of course, this doesn't take into account how well a guy like Erik Haula does in his training camp...he may earn a higher spot, same with Niedderreiter...while a guy like Pominville may not rate top six minutes.

Also, I think the Wild still may sign a low priced FA winger or two to help round out the lineup.

 

Tuomo Ruutu, Kris Versteeg, perhaps bring back David Jones or Ryan Carter, or take a chance and give a guy like Steve Downie a two way contract?

Or maybe a reasonably priced Jiri Hudler or Radim Vrbata.

 

Or perhaps a body in Iowa is ready to make the permanent move to the NHL....Kurtis Gabriel or Zack Mitchell for instance.

We will see....still a bit of time left before teams have to start thinking about camps and potential 2016-17 rosters.

 

In other news, the Wild still have two RFA's, Jordan Schroeder and Mathew Dumba.

The Schroeder situation seems to have gotten a bit ugly as the Wild have tried running him through the waiver wire (twice now going back a season or two) with no takers...and Schroeder and his agent feel he should get more than the Wild are willing to offer....hmmm.

 

But the more important of the RFA's is definitely Mat Dumba.

Early reports seem to indicate that some sort of 'bridge deal' is in the works...one that rewards Dumba for his progress, but doesn't hamstring the Wild on a bloated salary.

 

If Dumba is signed and does well, THEN Minnesota can start thinking about throwing some big numbers his way.....at which time maybe a contract like Jonas Brodin may need to be moved....that is unless Brodin is somehow moved and parlayed into some 2017 picks THIS off season (the Wild REALLY need to restock the system cupboards!).

 

And finally, the goaltending situation seems to have settle in as:

Dubnyk, starter (duh!)

Kuemper, on a one year contract as his backup.

 

The signing of Alex Stalock confused me a bit, but it appears he will primarily be used in Iowa, only getting a call up if something were to happen to either Duby or Kuemper.

 

More postings to come as things of significance happen with Minnesota leading up to the start of the season.

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