The bulk of whatever roster makeover the Wild receives this offseason probably won’t be executed until after a new general manager is hired, a void that was created Monday when the team decided not to renew Chuck Fletcher’s contract.
But restricted free agents Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba would like to be back next season.
“I love it here in Minnesota,” Dumba said. “The people are great. My teammates are awesome. I built a lot of good friendships here. I see that happening.”
Although most of the lineup is under contract for next season, Zucker and Dumba are two core players who require new deals. Zucker, who scored a career-high 33 goals in the regular season before going pointless in the playoffs, is coming off a two-year, $4 million contract.
Dumba also had a career-best season, posting 50 points amid an expanded role, before his two-year, $5.1 million deal expired.
Both are eligible for arbitration.
“For me, I think it was going to be a bit of a wait and see anyways just because there’s a lot that goes on with it, of course,” said Zucker, who plans to stay involved in the process. “For me, the goal and the plan is to be here and I will do everything I can to make sure that it happens.”
News of Fletcher’s exit surprised players, who felt their performance was related to the decision.
“You can’t help but feel a little bit of responsibility for all of us in here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “Whenever there’s a change like that, it’s for a reason that’s usually not winning enough.”
They also agreed with owner Craig Leipold’s belief this group should accomplish more.
“By him doing what he did [Monday], I think that sends a strong message to us,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “This is unacceptable. We can’t lose in the first round. Just making the playoffs isn’t good enough.”
No one on the Wild requires offseason surgery, coach Bruce Boudreau said, but players were banged up.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek was hurt in the playoffs and took few faceoffs. Boudreau wasn’t sure if Eriksson Ek’s issue stemmed from the Dustin Byfuglien hit in Game 1 but said “there’s a good chance” that caused it.
Winger Charlie Coyle also had “a couple injuries that we don’t know the severity of them yet,” Boudreau said, “but it’s nothing more than guys being beat up from a long season.”
Suter was getting around Xcel Energy Center on crutches Monday, with his right ankle in a cast after he fractured it in March. He’ll be in the cast for another week and then will have to keep pressure off the ankle for a couple more months.
“I can’t walk on it, so it’s going to be a long process,” Suter said.
Winger Zach Parise will get his fractured sternum checked in a few weeks but was told it will heal on its own.
“I’ve got to remind [my kids] all the time, ‘Don’t jump on me,’ ” he said.
• Zucker is the Wild’s nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a humanitarian contribution to the community.