Madden's plan: Wild or retire

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2011 - 8:55 AM

The veteran center might have to wait, as the Wild pursues the highly sought Stephane Da Costa and looks toward top prospects for next season.

John Madden

Photo: Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

In John Madden's mind, he has two options this summer: re-sign with the Wild or retire after 11 NHL seasons.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion has fallen in love with Minnesota. He plans to live in Edina full-time with his wife, two children and five dogs after his career ends.

"I definitely want to play hockey, I definitely think I can," said Madden, who turns 38 May 4. "But it's a family issue. It's not fair to the family to move them around if I don't come back here. So there's definitely a probability that I might not play again.

"I came here with the goal in mind to help the team make the playoffs and we didn't, so I'd love to get another crack at it."

Unfortunately for Madden, it's not that simple.

Even if the Wild wants to re-sign the checking center, there are a number of things that might limit its ability or at the very least delay a decision until later this offseason.

There are only so many spots available and only so much salary-cap space left, especially since next season the Wild plans to give a few youngsters shots at making the roster.

First, according to multiple sources, the Wild is aggressively pursuing Merrimack sophomore Stephane Da Costa, the leading scorer for the Warriors and the biggest fish of all the college free agents.

Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher, along with several Wild scouts, have watched Da Costa closely for two years, and Fletcher attended Merrimack's regional semifinal loss to Notre Dame on Saturday.

Fletcher is scheduled to talk with Da Costa and agent Wade Arnott on Tuesday. Like Casey Wellman before he signed with the Wild out of Massachusetts last year, Da Costa has drawn interest from more than 15 teams. But only a few can offer Da Costa the immediate opportunity the Wild can.

The Wild, Ottawa, Florida and Boston are the front-runners, sources say, with others trying hard.

Also affecting Madden? Wellman and Cody Almond could fight for roster spots next season, while the Wild hopes to sign draft picks Mikael Granlund, who scored three goals and two assists during IFK-Helsinki's first-round victory over Jokerit, and Johan Larsson. The Wild also hopes to sign Mikko Lehtonen, who was acquired from the Bruins for goalie Anton Khudobin and led the Swedish Elite League with 30 goals and was second with 58 points.

The Wild also will be looking for forward help via trade, so for a team that already has $50 million of salary-cap space chewed up next season, Madden could be squeezed out.

If the Wild lands Da Costa and he makes the team, his cap hit alone could reach $3.75 million. That includes a maximum $900,000 salary and $2.85 million in potential bonuses.

Since every serious contender is offering Da Costa the same contract, it becomes a recruiting job. Fletcher has worked hard for two months to convince Da Costa that his best shot to play right away is in Minnesota.

Da Costa, a native of Paris who scored 14 goals and 45 points in 33 games this season, is a smart, skilled, offensive player who is capable of playing center. He can sign a three-year deal that would start next season or have it begin this season so he can play games now (as Wellman did last year).

All this leaves Madden, a former Selke Trophy winner as the league's best defensive forward, in flux.

With his family settled, he is unwilling to be separated from his wife and kids for a year. And he doesn't want to uproot them for a job in another city either.

For instance, his 11-year-old son, Tyler, was part of Edina's Squirt A team that went 41-0.

"He's good," Madden said, laughing. "He really fell in love with his teammates. Hockey here is incredible. I've been in other places where the kids' hockey is competitive, but it's not a good level. Here it is, and I like the whole playing for your town thing and being part of the Edina culture that they have. I don't want to take him from that."

So for Madden's career to continue, is it Minnesota or nothing?

"That's the deal pretty much," he said. "Obviously stranger things have happened, but that's the idea right now for us as a family."

  • related content

  • Wild gameday

    Monday March 28, 2011

    Preview: The Wild is 0-7-1 in its past eight and hasn't been winless in nine in a row (0-6-3) since...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Kansas City 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 78 3rd Qtr 2:19
Orlando 61
New York 46 3rd Qtr
Toronto 38
San Antonio 29 2nd Qtr 6:01
Houston 36
Miami 30 2nd Qtr 9:08
Memphis 27
Minnesota 48 2nd Qtr 7:10
Chicago 48
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 5:32
New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 1 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 0
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Carolina 8:30 PM
Columbus 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 3 3rd Qtr
Cincinnati 20
Troy 3 2nd Qtr 2:35
South Alabama 10
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 1st Half 20:00
Chicago 0
Montreal 23 0:00
Ottawa 10
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question