Math must work for Wild on Cullen

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 12:10 AM
hide

Veteran center Matt Cullen would like to re-sign with the Wild, but the team's salary-cap situation makes it difficult. The Wild has about $2.8 million in cap space, and Cullen could get more on the open market.

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The week ahead should determine whether Matt Cullen remains in a Wild sweater.

With goaltender Niklas Backstrom re-signed, the Wild would next like to find a way to keep Cullen, a potential free-agent-to-be on July 5.

That will be challenging, however.

The Wild has only an estimated $2.8 million worth of salary-cap space remaining. Potential restricted free agents Cal Clutterbuck, Jared Spurgeon and Justin Falk still are unsigned. And Cullen might be able to command more than $3 million on the open market.

So, the math just doesn’t add up.

“Hopefully things will work out and it would be great to be back,” Cullen said Tuesday. “But I do understand the cap situation, and that’s kind of the fact of life in the NHL nowadays. We’ll see whether or not space can be freed to bring me back, and if not, I won’t have any regrets. I’ve enjoyed my time here, … but hopefully it’ll work out.”

General Manager Chuck Fletcher has talked to Cullen and his agent, and they understand that unless Fletcher is able to free up cap space via the trade or buyout route, there’s just no way to re-sign Cullen. The draft is Sunday in Newark, N.J., and typically the days leading to the draft and draft day make for the right environment for trades.

“Chuck’s been really honest with me and I know that I’ll be very honest with him and I’ll give him every opportunity to do what he wants to do,” Cullen said. “If it comes to the point where he knows he can’t get it done, he’s told me that he’ll let me know. And I believe him.”

Cullen, 36, who has scored 33 goals and 101 points in 153 games with Minnesota, is the Wild’s No. 2 center. He is integral on the penalty kill, in the faceoff circle and in shootouts. He says he never has felt better on the ice or more confident in his game.

If he doesn’t return, the Wild might move Charlie Coyle, who found a spot on the right side of the Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu line last season, to second-line center. Coyle has been a center for much of his life.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the rest of the dominoes can fall in order to make it work out,” Cullen said.

Rest for Backstrom

With Backstrom now 35 and injuries starting to catch up to him the past few years, the Wild has indicated to him that he might want to take some practices off or spend less time on the ice during gameday morning skates.

Fletcher said he never has seen a goalie practice as hard or work as hard away from the ice than Backstrom. Backstrom said goalie coach Bob Mason wants him to start “saving his energy for the game.”

Backstrom admitted, “That’s something I have to work on.”

Etc.

•â€¯The Wild has eight picks heading into Sunday’s deep draft, but none in the first round due to April’s Jason Pominville trade with Buffalo. Fletcher said he will try to trade into the first round.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 6 FINAL
Miami - WP: A. Ramos 9
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 7 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: G. Balfour 4
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Maness 5
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Turner 4
Detroit - WP: D. Price 12 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Hammel 6
San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 4 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Friedrich 2
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 3
San Francisco 7 Bottom 6th Inning
Colorado 6
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 0 1st Qtr 12:34
Louisville 0
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Indiana 84 FINAL
Chicago 86
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close