As we hit the dog days of the summer, ... seeya.
I'm heading out of town. If there's any Wild news in the interim, folks at the paper will cover for me, although I'm sure I won't be able to help myself and will chime in on Twitter from time to time probably on tape delay because of the time change of where I'm going -- Hawaii.
Last time I went to this paradise, the only news was minor -- the hiring of Chuck Fletcher.
Here is an updated Wild depth chart. Cap space is limited, so it certainly seems like the Wild's in a holding pattern until Erik Haula is re-upped. His salary arbitration hearing (if it gets there) is scheduled for July 31 and the two sides could theoretically settle up beforehand or (if it goes to a hearing) until the arbitrator renders a decision (within 48 hours after the hearing).
If the arbitrator makes the decision, the Wild will elect whether Haula gets a one-year contract or a two-year contract. Each side will also attach a salary figure it believes Haula deserves. The arbitrator then decides the salary with the term the Wild chooses.
Again, arbitration guarantees a conclusion, meaning this contract squabble between the two will be over soon and won't last until September the way Nino Niederreiter and Darcy Kuemper did last offseason.
As of yesterday, the Wild and Haula weren't any closer to a deal. Obviously things can change in a hurry.
Other than that, little's up. As has been reported in various circles, the Wild and Fox Sports North are expected to announce this week that Hockey Day Minnesota will be at Bayfront Park in Duluth on Feb. 6 (in a rarity because of logistics, etc., the Wild's on the road in St. Louis).
Also, early next month, there is expected to be a news conference regarding the festivities that will surround the Wild's Stadium Series game Feb. 21 against the Blackhawks.
As for the depth chart, here’s a look at how the Wild is shaping up to look like next season. This will change if the Wild add and delete players prior to training camp (players report Sept. 17).
The depth chart is my opinion. Obviously, lines change, roles change (maybe Charlie Coyle to wing eventually), etc.
If injured goalie Niklas Backstrom is still on the roster as a third goalie come the season, the Wild would have to keep two extra skaters opposed to three.
If the Wild keeps two extra defensemen, that would mean no extra forwards beyond the 12. If one of the eight defensemen is assigned to Iowa or hurt, there can be more than 12 forwards. As of now, the Wild's expecting that Backstrom will be on the roster.
In parentheses, each player’s cap hits.
Left wing Center Right wing
Zach Parise ($7.5+M) Mikael Granlund ($3M) Jason Pominville (5.6M)
Jason Zucker (900+K) Mikko Koivu (6.75M) Thomas Vanek ($6.5M)
Nino Niederreiter (2.66M) Charlie Coyle (3.2M) Justin Fontaine (1M)
Ryan Carter (625K) Erik Haula (RFA) ---------------------------
Vying for spots: Jordan Schroeder (600K), Tyler Graovac, (747,500); Brett Sutter (600K), Zac Dalpe (600K), Ruslan Fedotenko (600K), Michael Keranen (675K), Marc Hagel (605K), Kurtis Gabriel (667K), Zack Mitchell (615K), Brady Brassart ($836,667), Raphael Bussieres ($759,167), Grayson Downing (692,500), Pavel Jenys (688,333), Christoph Bertschy (575K), Jared Knight (761K), Brett Bulmer (RFA).
Left Defense Right Defense
Ryan Suter (7.5+M) Jonas Brodin (4.1+M)
Marco Scandella (4M) Jared Spurgeon (2.66M)
Mike Reilly (925K) Matt Dumba (894,167)
Nate Prosser (625K) Christian Folin (725,000)
Vying for spots: Folin, Tyson Strachan (650K), Jon Blum (RFA), Zach Palmquist (692,500), Gustav Olofsson (795K), Guillaume Gelinas ($596,667), Dylan Labbe (692,500), Alex Gudbranson (610K), Hunter Warner (598,333).
Devan Dubnyk (4.33M)
Darcy Kuemper (1.25M)
Niklas Backstrom (3.42M)
Minor-league goalies: Brody Hoffman (925K), Stephen Michalek (687,500).
*Wild’s expected to sign another goaltender for Iowa.
Total cap hit roughly: $68,821,342 ($71.4 million ceiling).
*Includes $500K buyout cap hit for Matt Cooke.
**Excludes potential bonuses for Reilly and Dumba for purposes of calculating the cap. A club is permitted to exceed the upper limit provided the overage is the direct result of performance bonuses. If this is the case, a club is only allowed to exceed the upper limit by 7.5 percent, which is $5.355 million (7.5 percent x $71.4M).
Available cap space: $2,578,658. Part of this cap space will be eaten up by Haula and if hopefuls like Graovac, Schroeder and Folin make the team.
Remember, this cap space is deceiving because the Wild needs to leave a cushion for injuries and flexibility to make in-season adjustments (i.e. trades).
Note: RFA means restricted free agent.
Other than that, here is the latest Russo-Souhan Show podcast largely on my thoughts on the Wild on malepatternpodcasts.com. You can subscribe on iTunes by searching for the web site.
The next Russo-Souhan Show will be up later this week.