Russo's Rants Logo


Russo's Rants

Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Wild close to re-signing Gustav Olofsson, cuts loose Christian Folin

In order to retain their rights and officially make them restricted free agents, the Wild announced that it extended qualifying offers (it actually happened several days ago, but today's the deadline) to Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Gustav Olofsson, Mike Reilly, Kurtis Gabriel, Steve Michalek, Zack Mitchell and Zach Palmquist.

According to sources, the Wild has re-signed Olofsson to a two-year deal. It's a one-way deal, meaning he'd have an inside track toward making next year's team.

The Wild did not tender qualifying offers to Christian Folin, Brady Brassart, Alex Gudbranson and Guillaume Gelinas.

The Wild would still like to sign Folin to a two-way contract, but at this point, one would think the big defenseman will test free agency when the market opens Saturday to see if he can get a one-way contract.

Folin would have been uninterested in his QO because it's a two-way that pays him something like $35,000 in the minors.

And the Wild was uninterested in giving him a QO because he would have likely filed for arbitration and gotten a one-way. The Winnipeg Jets just signed Ben Chiarot, a possible Folin comparable, to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million annually.

If Folin got an award in that vicinity, that just wouldn't have been doable for the Wild.

If Folin decides not to sign a two-way with the Wild, his departure leaves a void on the right side.

The Wild could pursue a third-pair right D or bring back Nate Prosser, an unrestricted free agent whom I think would be interested in returning.

I'll have a lot more in tomorrow's paper, but the Wild has called a number of agents today regarding potential fourth-line left wings, centers and backup goalies.

Some, interesting names that either means the Wild's just doing its due diligence or, as I have been saying, still may trade a defenseman like Marco Scandella.

I still think the Wild wants to move a contract to create flexibility to re-sign Niederreiter and Granlund and sign a couple free agents.

Wild goes for as much skill as possible on Day 2 of the NHL draft

See below for quotes and insight from Senior VP of Hockey Operations Brent Flahr, who ran his eighth draft table with the Wild, on the Wild's six picks.

Also, check out my column on in a bit on what's next after no trades were made by the Wild this weekend.

The Wild, as GM Chuck Fletcher said, tried its best to "maximize their darts" by taking as much skill as they could, no matter the player's size, and then develop them.

Here are the Wild's picks from today. Click on the player's name and you'll see their elite prospects bio.

Third round, 85th overall
Position: Right wing
Height/weight: 5-10, 178
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
2016-17 team: Erie Otters (OHL)
Stats: 24 goals, 57 points in 66 games.

His parents are from the Ukraine and came to the U.S. with $100 in their pockets.

Fourth round, 97th overall
Position: Center
Height/weight: 5-9, 175
Hometown: Wainwright, Alberta.
2016-17 team: Medicine Hat (WHL)
Stats: 27 goals, 67 assists, 94 points (8th in the league) in 71 games.

Stud player for Lloydminster, and he's more of a playmaker. Buddies with Wild prospect Carson Soucy.

Fourth round, 116th overall
Position: Center
Height/weight: 6-2, 188
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta.
2016-17 team: Oakville (OJHL)
Stats: University of Vermont-bound, 26 goals, 62 points in 46 games.


Fifth round, 147th overall
Position: Defenseman.
Height/weight: 6-0, 182
Hometown: Toronto, Ont.
2016-17 team: London (OHL)
Stats: Two assists in 38 games.

Sixth round, 178th overall
Position: Defenseman.
Height/weight: 6-0, 182
Hometown: Moscow, Russia.
2016-17 team: CSKA Moscow (KHL).
Stats: 4 goals, 16 points in 37 games; Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov’s teammate in the KHL and world juniors

Seventh round, 209th overall
Position: Center
Height/weight: 5-10, 178.
Hometown: Lakeville, Minn.
2016-17 team: Waterloo (USHL)
Stats: Former Lakeville South High player and future University of Minnesota-Duluth forward, 26 goals, 51 points in 47 games.

Flahr quotes

On getting skilled players:
Yeah that was our thought process going in, go for upside and obviously skill. Lodnia is a highly skilled kid. He played on an Eerie that was extremely deep. So I think late in the year he didn't get to play as much. You know, next year he's going to put up significantly higher numbers and he'll have more of an offensive role obviously. Mason Shaw we've seen playing for the national team before. He puts up big numbers already. He's a ball of energy, high character. He's one of those guys that our guys think has the chance to beat the odds. He'll run through a wall for his teammates and play in any situation. Just a character kid.

On getting value because these guys are small and we'll never make the NHL:
Yeah I think so. Especially at the point we were picking in the third and fourth round they're not going to have every asset compared to a pick in the first round or something. A lot of these guys have assets that we think will give them a chance to play.

On Misley:
Well he's a kid we're going to have to be patient with. He's got a very good skillset. He's got good hands and can see the ice. Physically he'll need time to develop but he's going to a college program where he'll get that opportunity. He had a strong year at the tier-two league. He played well in the tournaments when he had the chance.   

On Golden:
Golden is another kid that played on a very good London team so he didn't get to play a lot. He's an elite skater. He really moves the puck well. A couple of our guys that got to see him when he was playing early were really high on him. For where we got him we think it's a good pick at that point.

On "that Russian kid" (I couldn't pronouce his name on the spot):
Well he was on our list a couple years ago. Last year he played for the men's national team, he played for CSKA, and our guys followed him. He's a very smart player. He played both ways. For a young player he's already playing on the men's national team which says a lot about what they think of him over there. He's under contact for a couple more years. We'll have to find out all the details. He's a guy at that point we wanted to throw in the hopper.

On whether it was a tactical move with Kaprizov there:
No. He was on our list before that.

On if it helps that he's played with Kaprizov:
Well they played on the same line two world juniors ago for part of the tournament. He's a competitive kid but he's also a very smart player both offensively and on the defensive side of the puck.

“Swaney is a kid, obviously he’s gone through a couple of drafts, but Waterloo, he’s a very, very smart player on offensive side of the puck. He’s gotta get stronger, probably a step quicker but he’s ... we talked when we were going through names at teh end, we were talking about a kid, if you don’t draft him, you’re going to be chasing him as a free agent in a couple years. We can get him to camps and help work with him. We know he’s going to a good Duluth program that we have a lot of respect for.”

One of those guys you can afford to be patient with now?
“Yeah, obviously, we have close ties with Duluth and their coaching staff there. We’re confident, they develop players consistently. He’s already got a pretty good offensive skill set, he’s a smart offensive player. He’s going to need time to get stronger and quicker and he can certainly do that there.”

Tempting to trade into the first on Friday?
“We talked about it a little bit, but it’s more than just picks, there’s other things going involved in some of the deals we talked about. But we weren’t desperately just trying to move a player to get a pick. If it happened and it included a pick, that’s fine. But no, it was interesting how the first round went.”

Out of whack?
“No, I think most people had 27 or 28 of the 31 in the first. Some of the orders were a little different, a couple of the Minny kids probably fell a little further than I thought they were gonna go. But they’re all first rounders.”

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Twins at Boston

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Boston

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Sioux City at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Boston

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Sioux City at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Boston

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    6:30 pm

  • Minnesota United FC at New York City FC

    6:30 pm on Ch. 29, 1500-AM

  • Sioux City at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    6:30 pm

  • Gary at Saints

    7:05 pm on 1220-AM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    7:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Lynx at Phoenix

    9 pm on FSN PLUS, 106.1-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    12:45 pm

  • Twins at Kansas City

    1:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Gary at Saints

    7:05 pm on 106.1-FM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    7:35 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Canterbury Park live racing

    12:45 pm

  • Twins at Kansas City

    1:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Gary at Saints

    5:05 pm on 1220-AM

Poll: What are the Twins chances of making the playoffs?

See more polls

Today's Scoreboard

  • Philadelphia


    2:40 PM

  • Cincinnati

    St. Louis

    3:15 PM

  • Chicago Cubs


    6:05 PM

  • Minnesota


    6:10 PM


  • Texas


    6:10 PM

  • NY Yankees

    Chicago White Sox

    7:10 PM


  • Colorado

    San Francisco

    9:08 PM


  • LA Angels

    LA Dodgers

    9:10 PM

No NFL games today

No NBA games today

No NHL games today

No MLS games today