Chart: Wild's offseason to-do list
- May 15, 2014 - 8:14 AM
1. Re-sign Mike Yeo
The Wild coach’s contract expires June 30. Word from multiple sources Wednesday is that the Wild plans to sit down with Yeo and negotiate a multiyear contract extension. That’s expected to happen in the next few days.
Yeo’s entire staff — assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson, goalie coach Bob Mason and video coordinator Jonas Plumb — are also in the final year of their contracts.
2. Make decisions on the Wild’s own unrestricted free agents
Ilya Bryzgalov, goalie: Fletcher cannot re-sign Bryzgalov until he rectifies a logjam, which includes injured Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding (missed last 4½ months due to complications from multiple sclerosis).
John Curry, goalie: The Wild likely would consider re-signing him to a minor league contract.
Dany Heatley, forward: It’s been three years since he was acquired for Martin Havlat, and he is expected to move on. Only 33, Heatley has slowed and might have to settle for a one-year deal elsewhere or face retirement.
Cody McCormick, forward: He did his job well on the fourth line and was physical throughout the postseason. The Wild might consider re-signing him.
Matt Moulson, forward: It’s unknown just how hurt he was in the playoffs, but he missed the last three games and was completely ineffective throughout. He can score goals from in tight, but his lack of speed likely means the Wild will move on even though he and McCormick cost the team two second-round picks and Torrey Mitchell in a trade with Buffalo.
Nate Prosser, defenseman: The Elk River native had a strong second half when the Wild ran into injuries. But Christian Folin’s acquisition from Massachusetts-Lowell may make this good soldier expendable.
Mike Rupp, forward: Was a healthy scratch almost all season and is likely facing retirement.
Clayton Stoner, defenseman: Physical defenseman had a solid regular season and postseason. On a blue line that’s not very rugged, re-signing him makes a lot of sense.
3. Decide if he should use his final compliance buyout, which would get the Wild out of one final cap hit.
There aren’t many candidates. Backstrom is not a candidate because he was signed under the new collective bargaining agreement. Some have speculated Kyle Brodziak, who’s entering the last year of his deal and has seen his role diminish with the emergence of Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula. But it’s not easy to throw away centers in the NHL, and Brodziak is a good penalty killer who can contribute on the fourth line and move up when needed. Some have even speculated using the final one on captain Mikko Koivu, who had a second consecutive disappointing postseason offensively and is slowing. He has four years left at a cap hit of $6.75 million with a no-move clause. But this seems especially doubtful.
4. Explore the trade market.
Brodziak certainly will be on the trading block. Maybe Jason Zucker, whose role is getting squeezed. So will Backstrom, who has a modified no-trade clause. Again, many wonder if the Wild may shop Koivu leading up to the draft. He does have a full no-trade clause. It would also not be shocking if the Wild delve into the Ryan Kesler trade market with Vancouver. It would cost a lot, both in pieces and eventual money.
5. Re-sign restricted free agents Nino Niederreiter, Darcy Kuemper, Justin Fontaine and Zucker.
6. Begin exploring contract extensions for Granlund, Haula, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella.
There is no rush because all are set to become restricted free agents next summer, but Fletcher can begin talking after July 1.
7. Look at free agency.
Because the Wild must re-sign so many youngsters in the next two summers in a salary-cap world, Fletcher must be careful. Some intriguing choices? Forwards Thomas Vanek, Paul Stastny and Jussi Jokinen; defensemen Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Matt Greene; goaltenders Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller and Brian Elliott.
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