Brodziak to carry currency into negotiations

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 2, 2012 - 11:07 PM

The potential free agent center probably will get a big raise, either here or somewhere else.

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With less than a month before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, contract discussions regarding an extension for Wild center Kyle Brodziak (21) will start soon, both General Manager Chuck Fletcher and Brodziak's agent, Allain Roy, said, Thursday.

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DENVER -- With less than a month before the Feb. 27 trade deadline, contract discussions regarding an extension for Wild center Kyle Brodziak will start soon, both General Manager Chuck Fletcher and Brodziak's agent, Allain Roy, said, Thursday.

"We've talked about having talks," Roy said, laughing.

While both Roy and Fletcher said there is no rush, Brodziak can become a free agent July 1. Because of his age, 27, and valuable role on the team, it seems logical the Wild would want to try to lock him up before having to consider trading him this month.

"As long as things make sense, why wouldn't we want to sign Kyle Brodziak?" Fletcher said. "He's been a good player for us, he fits in well, I think he's enjoyed playing in Minnesota, and he's had success here. We enjoy having him here, so hopefully we can make it work."

Before Thursday's game at Colorado, Brodziak had scored 14 goals in 50 games -- two off his career high. He logs big minutes, is a trusted defensive cog and penalty killer, plays the power play and can move up and down lines seamlessly.

For instance, normally a third-liner, Brodziak has helped jump-start Dany Heatley on the same line the past four games.

Brodziak was the first player Fletcher traded for as Minnesota's GM. He's at the end of a three-year contract worth $1.15 million a season and is in line for a significant raise.

"He likes Minnesota, he likes the club, but we need to find out where they view him in the lineup," Roy said. "To his credit, he's having a good season and there definitely is a market for that type of center-man in the NHL. Hopefully, everything aligns for everybody, and if not, then it doesn't."

The key word there is "market." Centers are highly coveted on July 1 and Roy knows that.

Just look at the Wild, which so badly needed a center two summers ago. The team gave Matt Cullen a three-year contract worth $10.5 million.

"It would be dishonest in saying that we don't look at the market and what other comparable players are getting paid," Roy said.

"It's attractive that way. Money is a factor. But the other one: What's the team structure going to be like, where's he going to fit, and how good is the team going to be? I know Kyle's very competitive, and he wants to win.

"They got off to that good start. Obviously, they got derailed by all the injuries. Like any other player in the league, he gets frustrated when they start losing, but overall, he's very positive about the team and the city."

The Wild's other potential unrestricted free agents are Josh Harding, Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon, Mike Lundin, Brad Staubitz and Warren Peters.

Rattled goalie

Harding looked and sounded rattled after Tuesday's loss to Nashville -- a game in which the Wild blew a three-goal, third-period lead and a game where Harding gave up a bad goal to Mike Fisher from along the wall with 21 seconds left.

"It's not fun getting embarrassed in front of 19,000 people," Harding said. "It's embarrassing. There's nothing else you can really call it. But every goalie's let in a goal like that. In junior(s) I let one in from the red line.

"It's one of the worst goals I've ever let in just with the timing. But you wake up the next day. I had some good talks with some great people. And I've had a great year so far. You say 9-7-3 with a .920 save percentage against the challenging teams I've faced after coming off the knee surgery, you're probably going to take it.

"So, one game doesn't make a career."

Latendresse has more symptoms

With Guillaume Latendresse experiencing concussion-like symptoms again, "it's hard to be optimistic about any time that we're going to have him back real quickly," said coach Mike Yeo.

"This is the life of what we're dealing with right now, and we're not the only team trying to grasp this. It's a really difficult situation when you're dealing with these concussions."

Notes

• Yeo doesn't expect captain Mikko Koivu to return Saturday in Dallas.

• For the fourth consecutive game, defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Mike Lundin, and winger Brad Staubitz were scratched.

• The Wild's 2 p.m. start time against the Boston Bruins on Feb. 19 has been changed to 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally as part of "Hockey Day in America" coverage on NBC.

  • WILD AT COLORADO (LATE) • Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday at Dallas • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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