Iginla emerges on list of free-agent candidates for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2014 - 7:36 AM

The team is hoping Jarome Iginla will make Minnesota his next stop.

– The draft is over, no player trades were made, so whether it’s Sunday or Monday, bet that Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo will try to get together in Minnesota with pending free agents Matt Niskanen and Thomas Vanek.

While those have been the most well-publicized names surrounding Wild interest in advance of the market opening across the NHL Tuesday, the Wild has other lines in the water, too.

The Wild has been in contact with Jarome Iginla’s camp, according to multiple sources. It’s unclear if the interest is mutual, but it’s definitely clear that the Wild is interested in potentially signing the future Hall of Fame winger and, ironically, all-time leader in basically every offensive category against the Wild.

Iginla, the longtime Calgary Flames heart and soul captain who turns 37 Tuesday, looked resurrected with the Boston Bruins last season. He tied for the team lead with 30 goals, finished third with 61 points and was plus-34, which ranked fourth. In the playoffs, he led the Bruins with five goals and was third with seven points.

Iginla wants to return to Boston, but the Bruins would need to clear cap space to re-sign him. That hasn’t happened, meaning unless Iginla is patient and waits them out, he may need to move on. Wouldn’t it be something if Iginla landed on a Wild team he has roasted for years with 37 career goals and 67 career points?

The Wild, which ranked 24th offensively last season with 199 goals, desperately wants to improve offensively.

The two ways of doing that could be through an offensive-minded defenseman and a scoring winger. Two possible ways of accomplishing both would be to try to sign a player like Niskanen, a right-shot defenseman who had a career year in Pittsburgh, to a long-term deal and a forward like Vanek or Iginla to a shorter-term deal.

While it’s still possible that Fletcher will be able to alter the Wild via trade, it’s looking more likely that the way to fill holes this summer could come via free agency.

But Fletcher wants to be careful. He says he can’t afford to force something and sign somebody to a potentially bad contract that affects the team down the road. So he must make sure that his idea for role, fit and terms aligns with his targets.

“We’ve tried to be aggressive if the move makes sense, but there’s times, too, where you need to take what’s there,” Fletcher said. “Sometimes you have to lay off the pitch. You can’t just swing at everything. This summer could be one of those summers where maybe you just accept what’s there and not try to overpursue or push something that may not make you better.”

Niskanen, who got married Saturday and is from Virginia, Minn., has several teams beating down his door. It appears he could get a seven-year deal in some situations. Now, whether the home-state Wild would have to offer him that to get his services is unclear. But it’s clear if the Wild wants him it’ll have to pony up substantial term and dollars.

But Niskanen is intriguing because of his age, because he can play either the left side or the right and because he would give the Wild a right shot from the point that could help the power play. But if he’s signed to a five-, six- or seven-year contract, how does that affect the future in Minnesota of players like Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon and prospects Matt Dumba and Gustav Olofsson?

Remember, you don’t want to box promising youngsters out, either. For example, if the Wild wasn’t forced to get cap compliant after last year’s lockout and dump players last summer, Mikael Granlund undoubtedly wouldn’t have gotten the shot he did to excel last season.

Granlund broke out and now the Wild believes the sky’s the limit for the young centerman, something it wouldn’t have discovered if players like Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi returned. Same thing for a winger like Nino Niederreiter.

“Every time you go out and sign these long-term contracts, you just have less flexibility, you have more long-term commitments and sometimes those long-term commitments can turn into liabilities and you start to box yourself in,” Fletcher said. “To me, I’d almost rather be a little lean this year and maintain a little more flexibility than just pushing it right to the max.

“That’s kind of a feel thing. There’s certain players you might value more than other players and if you don’t think the player is a perfect fit maybe the best move is just to move on. I don’t think it’s that deep a free-agent class where if we don’t get No. 1 we should just blindly go after No. 2 or 3. Let’s be patient.”

That’s why it seems like the Wild wants to sit down with Vanek, 30, and see if he would be comfortable with a short-term deal. He’s coming off a so-so playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens, and whether it’s fair or not, he gets the rap sometimes of a player not always engaged.

And the one identity the Wild had down the stretch that also made it successful in the playoffs was work ethic and playing as five-man units in all three zones.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 5 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 4
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 7 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 1
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 4
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 6 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 1 FINAL
Texas - WP: N. Martinez 2
St. Louis 3 Bottom 10th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 2 Top 9th Inning
Minnesota 6
LA Angels 1 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 0
San Francisco 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Los Angeles 3
Colorado 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Diego 0
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Nashville 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
San Jose 2 3rd Prd 9:44
Vancouver 2
Arizona 2 2nd Prd 13:51
Anaheim 0
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close