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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Wild transactions on the horizon; NHL and NHLPA swap proposals as lockout looms

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news, Wild player moves Updated: September 12, 2012 - 2:24 PM

UPDATED With an NHL lockout potentially on the horizon, the Wild will make a number of transactions prior to Saturday's 11 p.m. CT expiration of the collective bargaining agreement for the purpose of those players spending a lockout in Houston.

All players signed to an entry-level contract except 2012 first-round pick Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon will be assigned to the Aeros. That includes, in no particular order, Marco Scandella, Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin, Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips, Tyler Cuma, Chad Rau, Steve Kampfer, Kyle Medvec, Justin Fontaine, David McIntyre, Joel Broda, Kris Foucault and Josh Caron.

Colton Jobke will start in Houston but still has a year of junior eligibility left.

Sean Lorenz is on an AHL deal, so he'll be down there.

Also, the following players would need to be put on waivers to get to Houston: Drew Bagnall, Brian Connolly, Chay Genoway, Carson McMillan, Jarod Palmer, Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell. Spurgeon, too. If a player is a risk to be plucked by another team off waivers, the Wild won't send him to Houston (i.e. Spurgeon). That includes, maybe, Veilleux and Dowell.

When a lockout ends, players sent to Houston via the waiver route can be recalled without having to clear waivers again.

Dumba isn't eligible to play in Houston due to his age, so he will return to his Western Hockey League club, Red Deer. If and when a lockout ends, the Wild could technically recall him from Red Deer.

By the way, the Wild does have one remaining free agent. Nick Palmieri has declined to accept his qualifying offer thus far. If he feels he is good enough to play in the NHL and didn't make the Wild, you'd think he'd feel confident enough to take the QO because he'd be waiver bait for another team. But he hasn't signed, meaning maybe he'll just sign in Europe because it's not like he has done enough to earn a one-way contract or guaranteed spot from the Wild.

The Wild still owns his rights.

In New York today, the NHLPA reportedly made a new proposal during a 2 1/2 meeting with the NHL. The NHL countered with a proposal of its own -- one the union wants to study. Both were on core economics.

NHLPA Executive Director reportedly said it's too early to say if that means meaningful progress, but players are willing to take a lower percentage over time but not an absolute salary reduction.

Commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly says the player proposal was not that much different around the edges, that the NHL's proposal had significant movement and that if it's not accepted by the weekend, it's off the table. That's according to tweets from reporters on the scene. The reason is the damage that will be done to the business.

According to reporters on the scene, the NHL's biggest olive branch is returning the hockey related revenue definition to the current definitions. The league was trying to change the definition. That puts about $100 million back into the player pockets. Bettman reportedly said in the latest NHL offer, players get $250-$300 million more back.

The NHL wants player reductions through escrow -- estimated at 9.7 percent in the first year, Bettman says.

We will see what happens here. Whatever side you fall on here, the reality is the lost money and time by NHL players if there's a lockout is unrecoverable. This is money they'll never get back. This can only get worse for them as time goes by because the owners control their ability to play.

So in a lot of ways, they'd be better off making the best possible deal they can possibly make by Saturday, take the hit and play.

But as you know, it doesn't often work out that way.

More than 280 players are in New York for meetings today and Thursday with Fehr, including new Wild players Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The NHL will hold a Board of Governors meeting Thursday, too.


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