Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Latest on Parise, Suter, Schultz; Minnesota Wild Depth Chart

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild off-season news Updated: June 29, 2012 - 3:16 PM

UPDATED WITH JUSTIN SCHULTZ STUFF:

I chatted briefly with Zach Parise this afternoon. He said his agents are still talking to New Jersey and it's not a guarantee yet he'll become a free agent at noon ET Sunday (11 a.m. CT).

However, if that happens, he said there's no logistics yet on how teams can talk to him beginning Sunday, although it's "possible" he will go to his agents' Mississauga offices starting Sunday. Last year, some teams met with Brad Richards there face-to-face, although the Rangers -- the team that signed him -- did everything via phone.

There's a chance logistics may be firmed up later today, Parise said. I did talk to a couple teams and they said no ground rules for any specific free agent have been given out as far as they know and after hearing from Parise's agency this afternoon, they don't plan to talk to any team but New Jersey until noon ET Sunday.

I would think at some point after noon ET Sunday, if Parise is going to become a free agent, teams will be informed of a process if they want to get in front of him. Some teams could do that by phone, some prefer to show up in person to make pitches.

As for Ryan Suter, his agent, Neil Sheehy, will be in International Falls fielding phone calls while his client is at his farm in Wisconsin. Teams won't be meeting face-to-face with Suter on July 1, although at some point Suter may meet with some teams. It sounds like a Suter decision could take a few days or longer.

Also, I have confirmed TSN Bob McKenzie's tweet last night that the Wild is on Justin Schultz's short list and DO have a face-to-face meeting scheduled with the University of Wisconsin free agent defenseman, although I don't know when. Schultz can sign with a team starting Sunday. Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, the Rangers and Ottawa are also on his short list, reportedly.

Every contract offer will be essentially the same, so it's just a matter of which team can sell Schultz best on its program, situation and opportunity. 

The Wild re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Chay Genoway to a two-year deal. Also, so far at the July 9-15 development camp, here are some invites: Drew LeBlanc -- St. Cloud State; Cody Corbett – Edmonton Oil Kings; Bobby Farnham – Brown University; Marshall Everson – Harvard.

I did a live chat today on startribune.com and you can see the replay  (click this link).

As I often do after the draft and prior to free agency, I post what I consider to be the Wild’s depth chart heading into the meat of the offseason. This very much WILL be altered depending on free-agent signings and trades this summer, so do not panic.

Unlike most years, it’s also a complete shot in the dark because we don’t know what prospects will blow the doors open during training camp. While we can assume Mikael Granlund is a lock to make the team as long as he doesn’t fall down 50 times and arrive in September with my physique, we don’t know yet about others.

For instance, Johan Larsson and Brett Bulmer could be competing for a third- or fourth-line spot. Bulmer played nine games last season in the NHL and the coaches know him and love his game; Larsson has played pro in Sweden, captained Sweden to gold at the world juniors, is a winger that is basically a faceoff specialist and is known and respected by management.

If the Wild doesn’t replace Guillaume Latendresse’s spot this summer, could Charlie Coyle be ready to immediately step in? He can play wing (left side) or center. What about Jason Zucker or Nick Palmieri or Stephane Veilleux?

Same thing with the blue line. Justin Falk and Nate Prosser will be on one-way deals, but does that mean their jobs are locks if the Wild signs or trades for defensemen this summer or a Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba impress in training camp?

This is also subject to change because to start training camp, the Wild will try Granlund at second-line center. That’s his natural position and the Wild is intrigued by what he may look like flying up the center of the ice with speed and distributing the puck. If he plays center, Matt Cullen will start off as a wing. But if Granlund can’t adjust right away to center, he could wind up on Mikko Koivu’s wing and Cullen returns to center.

So for the first time in my soon-to-be eight training camps covering the Wild, the exhibition games and scrimmages could really determine roster spots for many. So without further ado, here is the depth chart:

FORWARDS

Left wing-Center-Right wing

First line: Devin Setoguchi-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley
Second line: Matt Cullen-Mikael Granlund-Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Third line: XXXXXX-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck
Fourth line: Darroll Powe-XXXXXX-XXXXXX
Extras: Matt Kassian-XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Kassian, Stephane Veilleux, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips, Nick Palmieri, Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, David McIntyre, Carson McMillan, Kris Foucault, Justin Fontaine, Joel Broda
Unrestricted free agents: Guillaume Latendresse, Nick Johnson, Erik Christensen; Jed Ortmeyer; Warren Peters
Minor-league restricted free agents: McIntyre, Palmieri, Palmer, McMillan
Minor-league unrestricted free agents: Jon DiSalvatore, Jeff Taffe

DEFENSEMEN

Left-Right

First pair: Marco Scandella-Tom Gilbert
Second pair: Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon
Third pair: Justin Falk-Nate Prosser
Extra: XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Falk, Prosser, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Steven Kampfer, Tyler Cuma, Chay Genoway, Drew Bagnall, Kyle Medvec, Josh Caron, Colton Jobke
Unrestricted free agents:  Kurtis Foster, Mike Lundin
Restricted free agents: Falk
Minor-league unrestricted free agents: Jeff Penner, Kris Fredheim

GOALTENDERS

No. 1: Niklas Backstrom
No. 2: Josh Harding

In the wings: Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper

Note: XXXXXX signifies open spot.

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