Some Wild items:
Today was the deadline for player elected arbitration filings.
-- Darcy Kuemper had arbitration rights, but he signed a one-year, $1.55 million deal. He got a $50,000 raise from his qualifying offer. The Wild looked into trading him at the draft, but as of now, there's no market and he looks to be returning as the Wild backup.
He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. So will Alex Stalock.
I emailed NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and he confirms that this means if the Wild doesn't have a goalie signed in 2017-18 prior to the June 20 expansion draft, Devan Dubnyk would have to be exposed to Las Vegas to satisfy the Wild's exposure obligation of one goaltender.
If the Wild wants to protect Dubnyk and expose another goalie, the Wild must acquire a goalie prior to the expansion draft that is under contract for 2017-18 or acquire a restricted free agent (must extend that RFA a qualifying offer before expansion draft) OR extend Stalock or Kuemper before the expansion draft.
Kuemper, 26, is 33-29-11 with a 2.47 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and seven shutouts with the Wild.
-- Jordan Schroeder filed for arbitration. It's just part of the process toward getting a new contract. He's in search of a one-way contract or at least a lucrative two-way, and I'd think there will be a settlement before his arbitration hearing later this month is set.
-- Zach Palmquist had arbitration rights, but I hear he has agreed to terms on a new two-way contract. He took his one-year qualifying offer. It hasn't been announced yet
-- Unsigned Matt Dumba doesn't have arbitration rights, so he couldn't file.
-- As of now, Wild unrestricted free agents Ryan Carter, Chris Porter, Justin Fontaine, David Jones and Jarret Stoll haven't signed anywhere.
-- As of now, Matt Cullen still waits for an offer from Pittsburgh or the Wild. I had GM Chuck Fletcher on KFAN on Sunday morning and he indicated he wants to be patient with his extra cap space right now. He's hoping for bargains later in the summer or potential trades with his belief that certain teams tight against the cap or over the cap will be forced to make moves as we get closer to camp.
We'll see. If the Wild offered a deal to Cullen before the Pens, I believe he'd take it. I think there's little doubt the Wild needs at least one more NHL body, and Cullen has the ability to move up and down the lineup, keep Bruce Boudreau from having to move Mikael Granlund or Charlie Coyle back to center if there are injuries and could aid the Wild's penalty kill, which ranked 27th last season.
-- David Backes talked the other day about how the Wild was bigtime in the mix to sign him. In the end of the day, the Wild wasn't going to offer five years at $30 million plus a no move clause the way Boston did. Backes also said he thinks staying in the Central Division would have been tough for him after years playing in St. Louis.
I asked Fletcher about that on the FAN: "First of all, I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak to David. What a tremendous person. He had great questions. I think he was interviewing me as much as I was interviewing him. I really liked that. He'd really thought things through and wanted to know the direction of the team and where he'd fit. Obviously David is familiar with our group. ... I'm thrilled he's going to the Eastern Conference, I can say that. I'm very happy for him for the deal he got. I shot him a text congratulating him on the deal after he signed. ... Just to get into the $6 million range or $5 million range on some of these players, we felt not just this year but going forward could compromise our ability not just to add players but to keep some of the young players that we have that we hope will take steps this year and will need new contracts in the next one to two years."
He's likely talking about Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, who enter the final year of their contracts.