A little of this, a little of that in no order whatsoever:
-- Mike Reilly situation: I'd assume we're getting down to decision time. It's down to the Wild, Blackhawks and Kings, I believe. Reilly has canceled a visit to Pittsburgh and there's no trip planned there on his docket.
As I've stated before, in terms of skilled, young defensemen in the Wild organization NOT in the NHL, Gustav Olofsson is the only top-tier prospect and he missed basically all season for Iowa last year with a shoulder injury. So Reilly would parachute in atop the D depth chart. The Wild believes wholeheartedly in Reilly's ability and mature game. While most young kids coming out of college would need minor-league time to adjust to the pro game, it's very clear that the Wild would give Reilly every opportunity to make the team out of camp next season if he chooses in Minnesota.
As of now, the Wild has an open slot at third pair left D.
-- Niklas Backstrom has changed agents from the three-year contract he signed in 2013. When his agent, Don Baizley, passed away of cancer, Baizley's colleague, Jeff Kowall, took on all of Baizley's clients.
Backstrom has since changed to longtime agent Jay Grossman, Erik Haula's agent. Grossman has permission to talk to other teams leading to July 1. Total conjecture: If he can find somebody willing to sign Backstrom to a one-year deal at around $1 million, maybe Backstrom, not yet cleared from offseason elbow surgery, would consent to being bought out for two-thirds his $4 million salary and thus almost be made whole and as importantly have a chance to play. Whatever happens here, if Backstrom returns to the Wild, it's clear he'd be the third goalie.
-- As for Wild restricted free agents, the Wild plans to tender qualifying offers to Haula, Mikael Granlund and Christian Folin to retain their rights. The Wild plans to qualify minor-leaguers Brett Bulmer and Jared Knight. Michael Keranen has already re-signed. Johan Gustafsson will be qualified so the Wild retains his rights, but he has already signed to play with Frolunda in Sweden.
Curt Gogol and Colton Jobke won't be qualified and thus will be free agents July 1.
The only question mark is Jon Blum. The Wild could QO him to get a second buyout window for Backstrom (only makes sense if Backstrom would be cleared to play by late July, which is unclear) if he were to file for arbitration.
But, I'm hearing the Wild is looking at trying to trade Blum in order to give him a fresh start elsewhere. The Wild would likely look to take a similar player in need of a fresh start back.
-- GM Chuck Fletcher is flying to Las Vegas tonight for the GM's meeting. He will meet with Devan Dubnyk on Tuesday, then fly to Ft. Lauderdale to meet with Dubnyk's agent, Mike Liut. There are no updates to this story on the situation from Saturday's paper.
Again, until the goaltending situation is resolved and Granlund re-signed, even Fletcher doesn't know what trades may transpire at the draft and how much money he would have for the free-agent market or if he can afford to re-sign any of his pending free agents like Kyle Brodziak, Chris Stewart, Jordan Leopold, Nate Prosser, Ryan Carter, etc.
Priority No. 1 is a goalie. If Dubnyk goes elsewhere, the Wild will need to probably sign Antti Niemi or Karri Ramo or acquire a goalie like Robin Lehner.
So, I see your tweets asking me about Kyle Okposo and Phil Kessel and this guy and that guy. But until we see how much Dubnyk costs (assuming this thing gets worked out) and Granlund costs (barring a trade), there's just no way to know what else the Wild can do until we, as Fletcher says, get the abacus out and count up how much money is left.
As of now, Fletcher tells me he's not looking to make "radical changes" and that he feels no pressure to trade Jared Spurgeon now (while they have to figure out "the long-term," that doesn't need to be now he says with him one year from restricted free agency) and he's not looking to trade high-priced vets like Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville.
However, teams are still awaiting final word on the salary cap for next season (believed to be a little north of $70 million, which is almost $4 million lower than last summer's projection, so things could change). Also, the reality is in the NHL, talking really starts this week prior to the draft.
For instance, at this time two years ago, the Wild didn't have a single conversation with the Islanders about Nino Niederreiter. The Brent Burns trade came together draft week after Devin Setoguchi re-signed with the Sharks right before the draft. Most infamously, the 2000 Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen trade for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha when I covered the Panthers. That thing literally happened between Bryan Murray and Mike Milbury the night before the draft. Chuck Fletcher was Florida's assistant GM at the time.
So I have learned that even though Fletcher might say one thing to me today that is truthful, by the end of the week, it could be obsolete.
-- The Wild had its draft luncheon today where we get Fletcher and assistant GM Brent Flahr. No, they didn't give me a copy of their draft list. Yes, they said they'll take the best player available and whichever available player comes up next on their list.
Very unlikely the Wild moves up. With the amount of picks the Wild has traded the past few years and in some upcoming drafts, Fletcher wants to keep his second-round pick (50th overall) and usually moving up requires your first and a second or prospect. So the Wild will either choose 20th or drop down to gather some more picks and try to effectively recoup some of the picks it has traded recently.
There is so much quality and quantity in this draft, Fletcher feels the Wild will "definitely" get a top player in the first round whether it sticks with the 20th pick or moves down. Moving back will depend largely on how many players are left on the Wild's list at 20th that it really, really likes. If there's little dropoff, moving back is very much an option.
Yes, the Wild will look to take at least one goalie in this draft, which is something it tries to do every draft.
-- I will tell you: Tons of players are available right now. Now is not a good time to have to move good players. There's just really no way to get equitable value back on most moves right now.
Like seriously, I love the rumored asking price on Twitter for Patrick Sharp. I saw somebody wrote first-round pick, prospect and a player (which makes no sense since the Hawks can't take money back).
Everybody in the league knows the Blackhawks must trade Sharp and probably Bryan Bickell. The Hawks will be lucky to get a second-round pick for a guy like Sharp right now. We shall see. Stan Bowman has proven to be a miracle maker.
I will write more this week on the draft and trades, so please stay tuned to all of my coverage this week.