Iginla emerges on list of free-agent candidates for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2014 - 7:36 AM

The team is hoping Jarome Iginla will make Minnesota his next stop.

– The draft is over, no player trades were made, so whether it’s Sunday or Monday, bet that Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo will try to get together in Minnesota with pending free agents Matt Niskanen and Thomas Vanek.

While those have been the most well-publicized names surrounding Wild interest in advance of the market opening across the NHL Tuesday, the Wild has other lines in the water, too.

The Wild has been in contact with Jarome Iginla’s camp, according to multiple sources. It’s unclear if the interest is mutual, but it’s definitely clear that the Wild is interested in potentially signing the future Hall of Fame winger and, ironically, all-time leader in basically every offensive category against the Wild.

Iginla, the longtime Calgary Flames heart and soul captain who turns 37 Tuesday, looked resurrected with the Boston Bruins last season. He tied for the team lead with 30 goals, finished third with 61 points and was plus-34, which ranked fourth. In the playoffs, he led the Bruins with five goals and was third with seven points.

Iginla wants to return to Boston, but the Bruins would need to clear cap space to re-sign him. That hasn’t happened, meaning unless Iginla is patient and waits them out, he may need to move on. Wouldn’t it be something if Iginla landed on a Wild team he has roasted for years with 37 career goals and 67 career points?

The Wild, which ranked 24th offensively last season with 199 goals, desperately wants to improve offensively.

The two ways of doing that could be through an offensive-minded defenseman and a scoring winger. Two possible ways of accomplishing both would be to try to sign a player like Niskanen, a right-shot defenseman who had a career year in Pittsburgh, to a long-term deal and a forward like Vanek or Iginla to a shorter-term deal.

While it’s still possible that Fletcher will be able to alter the Wild via trade, it’s looking more likely that the way to fill holes this summer could come via free agency.

But Fletcher wants to be careful. He says he can’t afford to force something and sign somebody to a potentially bad contract that affects the team down the road. So he must make sure that his idea for role, fit and terms aligns with his targets.

“We’ve tried to be aggressive if the move makes sense, but there’s times, too, where you need to take what’s there,” Fletcher said. “Sometimes you have to lay off the pitch. You can’t just swing at everything. This summer could be one of those summers where maybe you just accept what’s there and not try to overpursue or push something that may not make you better.”

Niskanen, who got married Saturday and is from Virginia, Minn., has several teams beating down his door. It appears he could get a seven-year deal in some situations. Now, whether the home-state Wild would have to offer him that to get his services is unclear. But it’s clear if the Wild wants him it’ll have to pony up substantial term and dollars.

But Niskanen is intriguing because of his age, because he can play either the left side or the right and because he would give the Wild a right shot from the point that could help the power play. But if he’s signed to a five-, six- or seven-year contract, how does that affect the future in Minnesota of players like Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon and prospects Matt Dumba and Gustav Olofsson?

Remember, you don’t want to box promising youngsters out, either. For example, if the Wild wasn’t forced to get cap compliant after last year’s lockout and dump players last summer, Mikael Granlund undoubtedly wouldn’t have gotten the shot he did to excel last season.

Granlund broke out and now the Wild believes the sky’s the limit for the young centerman, something it wouldn’t have discovered if players like Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi returned. Same thing for a winger like Nino Niederreiter.

“Every time you go out and sign these long-term contracts, you just have less flexibility, you have more long-term commitments and sometimes those long-term commitments can turn into liabilities and you start to box yourself in,” Fletcher said. “To me, I’d almost rather be a little lean this year and maintain a little more flexibility than just pushing it right to the max.

“That’s kind of a feel thing. There’s certain players you might value more than other players and if you don’t think the player is a perfect fit maybe the best move is just to move on. I don’t think it’s that deep a free-agent class where if we don’t get No. 1 we should just blindly go after No. 2 or 3. Let’s be patient.”

That’s why it seems like the Wild wants to sit down with Vanek, 30, and see if he would be comfortable with a short-term deal. He’s coming off a so-so playoffs with the Montreal Canadiens, and whether it’s fair or not, he gets the rap sometimes of a player not always engaged.

And the one identity the Wild had down the stretch that also made it successful in the playoffs was work ethic and playing as five-man units in all three zones.

On the other hand, Vanek, the former Gophers star, offers the Wild what it lacks. When he’s on, the goal scorer’s good for 30 goals, 70 points and would give a Wild team not nearly productive enough around the net a player who is terrific in that vicinity.

From a work ethic component, that’s a big reason why the Wild is showing interest in Iginla. There are few more driven players, and there’s no denying the popular, likable forward craves his first Stanley Cup, which is appealing for a franchise seeking its first.

Fletcher and Yeo expect to have conversations with a handful of these type of pending free agents in the next two days. The outcomes could affect the Wild significantly, short-term and long-term.

“By adding a player, you don’t always get better,” Yeo said. “It has to be the right player, it has to be the right fit. That’s very important for us.”

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 68 4th Qtr 8:20
LA Lakers 82
Denver 53 3rd Qtr
Golden State 65
Portland 62 3rd Qtr 7:36
LA Clippers 55
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 3rd Prd 1:11
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 3rd Prd 17:06
Anaheim 3
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 23 4th Qtr 8:21
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 38 2nd Qtr 0:30
California 28
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 10:33
Calgary 21
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
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 Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close