I've gotten some comments on Twitter and email saying they can't believe the Wild gave goalie Johan Gustafsson, a 2010 sixth-round pick, first-round money.
I don't know how these rumors start, but just because the Wild got the deal done just prior to the deadline doesn't mean it gave him first-round money.
Mikael Granlund got three years at $900,000 a year in the NHL plus potential performance bonuses that take his annual cap hit to $2.1 million.
Gustafsson, in the NHL, will make $525,000, $550,000 and $650,000 with a $90,000 signing bonus each year getting the salaries to 615K, 640K and 740K. That's an average of $665,000 a year. He gets potential games played bonuses that brings the annual cap hit to $900,000 ($1.2 million lower than Granlund), and those bonuses burn off as he doesn't attain games played.
Granlund can receive up to $850,000 in potential “A” bonuses, which include 20 goals, 35 assists, 60 points, .73 points per game, top-6 forwards in ice time, top-3 forwards in plus-minus and other big awards, like all-rookie team.
With Gustafsson, his contract starts next year. He will hopefully come to training camp, but realistically, he will go back to Lulea in Sweden next season rather than Houston and Matt Hackett and Darcy Kuemper will be in Houston.
Gustafsson's signing gives the Wild three goalie prospects. There's only one cage. Do the math. You can bet the Wild will eventually parlay one of these guys in a trade, potentially after they develop them or sooner depending on the market. But normally when you have so many goalies considered quality prospects, you want to develop them and see if they turn into true blue-chippers so the price jumps. If they're all as good as the Wild hopes, they can't all play here. So obviously, this is a very good thing for the organization. Just more potential chips to swing a deal.
Also, since Gustafsson is a ways away from playing, this really doesn't affect the Josh Harding situation at all. The Wild still needs a No. 2 behind Niklas Backstrom for next year, so again, I'd think the Wild will try to re-sign Harding or bring in a veteran backup. It'll be interesting now to see which of the goalie prospects emerge into the Wild's "goalie of the future" because Backstrom only has one year left on his deal.
Also, June 1 starts the time teams can sign European free agents. The Wild has some interest in one player, but I'm not sensing it's a priority.
Huge month for the Wild. It has decisions to make on Guillaume Latendresse, and potential draft day deals. As we know, GM Chuck Fletcher believes the draft and soon after is a time to swing deals. However, since we know Zach Parise is Plan A, it'll be interesting to see how active Fletcher can be trade-wise around or at the June 22-23 draft until he knows what Parise's doing.
Regardless, Fletcher has said over and over the Wild needs to add "NHL talent," so this could be an active, aggressive summer for the Wild GM. As I mentioned, I think it makes a lot of sense to try to trade for the rights of Ryan Suter if he doesn't re-sign in Nashville. For those rationales, see my blog a few days ago.
Also, I am filling in for the Common Man, Dan Cole, again on Tuesday from 12-3 on KFAN. Lots of good guests lined up and as usual, you can tweet and email me questions Tuesday and call in the show.
Lastly, RIP Dark Star. I didn't know him nearly as well as my media brethren, but he was always quite the character whenever I was on one of his shows or chatted at Canterbury.
I still remember my first interview with him on CCO after I got to town in 2005. Nobody warned me who he was, how he interviewed, his overall shtick. It was the most uncomfortable interview I've ever done because I literally was squirming throughout. I didn't know what the heck was going on. I remember, I called up Wild PR guy Aaron Sickman afterward and he was just howling.
I had a great time going on with Dark every time since. It was sad listening to Paul Allen, Dan Cole and Patrick Reusse talk with Dan Barriero yesterday about Dark on KFAN. You can just hear how much Dark meant to all these guys.
Yesterday was a sad day for many in the Twin Cities and I send my best to all his buddies and loved ones. Give Reusse's column a read in today's Strib here.
Enjoy Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, folks. This has the makings of terrific series.