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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Wild, Jonathon Blum agree to terms; Full prospects scrimmage Saturday

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: July 12, 2013 - 10:33 AM
Rather than a 3-on-3 tournament Saturday, the Wild will now hold a more visually-pleasing, fan-friendly full prospects scrimmage Saturday at Xcel Energy Center from 3-4:30 p.m. Gate One opens at 2:30.
 
Today, the Wild will hold simultaneous half-sheet 3-on-3 tourneys at 2:45 p.m. Gate One opens at 2:15.
 
Both sessions are free and open to the general masses.
 
The Wild has also officially announced that it has agreed to terms with free-agent defenseman Jonathon Blum to a one-year, two-way contract.
 
Blum, a 2007 Nashville Predators first-round pick, will vie for a roster spot. If he doesn’t make the team, he will certainly be a first callup option.
 
Remember, on all teams, one-way contracts usually rule the roost, so Blum is behind the one-way guys on the depth chart whether you agree he should be or not. The one thing he does have going for him: He’d require waivers to get him to the minors, so if he proves in training camp that he warrants a roster spot, you can bet the Wild would try to make room.
 
The Predators didn’t tender Blum, 24, a former Western Hockey League star from the Vancouver Giants, a qualifying offer presumably because the threat of his winning a one-way arbitration case and Nashville’s logjam on the blue line. He became an unrestricted free agent last Friday. It was clear from reading Josh Cooper's stuff in the Tennessean the past few years that Blum has talent but needed a fresh start. Just wasn't working there.
 
But it is a turbulent climate out there. The list of quality free agents that can’t get jobs right now is frankly amazing, and expected, because teams just don’t have the cap space with the cap dropping nearly $6 million. There is zero doubt, many NHL careers are in jeopardy, so you’re going to start seeing some quality names being forced to sign two-way contracts or pro tryouts. You get a 24-year-old former first-round pick on a two-way deal like Blum, it could end up being a steal.
 
The 6-1, 195-pound right-shot Blum has scored seven goals and 22 points in 91 NHL games for the Predators. In four years with the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, Blum, their former captain, scored 49 goals and 204 points. He was WHL and CHL Defenseman of the Year in 2009. He scored 66 points that year playing on a team with Winnipeg’s Evander Kane. He won a Memorial Cup in 2007. His Giants teams recorded four consecutive years of 100 points. He is their all-time leader in assists (138).
 
The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., native represented the U.S. in the world juniors twice. If you want to read some articles written recently on Blum in the Vancouver papers, see the previous blog.
 
The Wild also signed defenseman Jon Landry to a one-year, two-way deal. He scored 33 points and had 57 penalty minutes in 72 games with Bridgeport last season. He's a 6-3, 220-pounder from Montreal.
 
UPDATED WILD DEPTH CHART (AS OF JULY 12)
 
Here is the updated depth chart. Chuck Fletcher has lately said in his mind, only two of the young prospects really “need” to make the team. That puts Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula in that pool of “vying for spots” players. It’ll be fun to watch that battle in training camp. If only two of the young kids really end up making it, perhaps Torrey Mitchell moves to the third line and a right wing like 25-year-old Justin Fontaine, who had a terrific year for the Aeros last year, challenges for a spot on the fourth line.
 
Forwards
 
Left wing                         Center                          Right wing
 
Zach Parise ($7.5+M)       Mikko Koivu (6.75M)   **Jason Pominville (4.505M)
 
*Jason Zucker ($833,333) *Charlie Coyle (975K)   Dany Heatley (7.5M)
 
Matt Cooke (2.5M) Kyle Brodziak (2.83+M) *Nino Niederreiter (2.795M)  
 
Mike Rupp (1.5M)           Zenon Konopka (925K) Torrey Mitchell (1.9M)
 
Extra: Jake Dowell (700K)
 
Some vying for spots: *Mikael Granlund, Justin Fontaine (RFA), Stephane Veilleux, *Erik Haula, *Brett Bulmer, *Zack Phillips.
* Entry-level contract; can be sent to the minors without waivers.
**Buffalo picking up roughing $795,000
 
Defensemen
 
Left Defense                     Right Defense
 
Ryan Suter (7.5+M)          Jonas Brodin (1.4+M)
 
Marco Scandella (1.025M) Keith Ballard (1.5M)
 
Clayton Stoner (1.05M)   Jared Spurgeon (2.66M)
 
Extra: Nate Prosser (825,000)
 
Vying for spots: Jonathon Blum, Matt Dumba (Must make the Wild or return to WHL Red Deer, not Iowa eligible because he’ll be 19), Steve Kampfer, Kyle Medvec (RFA)
 
Goalies
 
Niklas Backstrom (3.42M)
Josh Harding (1.9M)
  
Buyout charge
 
Mark Parrish ($927,778)
 
Total cap hit roughly: $62,753,868(includes Buffalo picking up Pominville’s portion)
Wild’s approximate cap ceiling next year (roughly $400,000 less than NHL): $63.9M
***Available space roughly: $1,146,132. This doesn't include others making the team. For instance, if Granlund makes it, his cap hit is $2.1 million. Remember also, the Wild needs to save at least $1 million of space for in-season injury callups.
***Cap hits for all Minnesota’s entry-level players inflated for potential bonuses (for example, Niederreiter’s salary is actually $810,000); teams can exceed the cap by 7.5% on potential performance bonuses, so Wild actually has more cap space than listed. 
 
 
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 83 4th Qtr 10:59
Sacramento 83
Oklahoma City 63 3rd Qtr
Golden State 65
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 3 2nd Prd 9:51
Los Angeles 2
Edmonton 3 2nd Prd 4:45
San Jose 2
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 31 2nd Half 4:55
Idaho 75
DePaul 53 2nd Half 4:25
Oregon State 85
Nevada 53 2nd Half 5:16
Pacific 55
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 33 2nd Half 8:04
Utah State 44
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT