Now that Jared Spurgeon’s contract is extended for four years at the tune of $20.75 million, it’s likely that Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba are next. But General Manager Chuck Fletcher said there’s no rush getting the pending restricted free agents’ deals done.
“The other two are still young players trying to find their role, trying to find their niche on the team, trying to establish their game,” Fletcher said. “We’ll just see. It may take a little bit more time.”
Zucker, 23, is coming off a 21-goal season in 51 games (33.7-goal pace over 82 games) and scored his ninth goal and 17th point in his 34th game this season Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. He’s doing his best to not think about his contract.
“I’m really happy for Spurge,” Zucker said. “It’s a great deal. He works really hard, and I think he really deserved that deal. For me, I know if I play hockey well, I think that’ll happen. If I start worrying about those things, it’s not going to work out the way you want it.”
Zucker said he doesn’t know if his contract is close. Like Spurgeon, he has instructed his agent not to give him daily updates. When it’s time to make a decision, that’s when Zucker will be contacted.
“My dad wants the best for me, but this summer, my dad was asking me every day what was going on,” Zucker said. “I told my dad, ‘This isn’t how it’s going to work.’ I told him, I told my agent, I told everybody I don’t want to talk about it because it’s not going to help me, it’s not going to help anybody.
“So I honestly couldn’t tell you if [my agent’s] talked to them in the past week, today or three months ago. I honestly don’t know.”
Of the Wild’s young corps, only Spurgeon, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella are signed beyond 2016-17.
“This is exactly where I want to be,” Zucker said. “We have a great team here that I think has a lot of potential to do great things coming up this year and beyond that. I would love to be here. That’s definitely my No. 1 choice.”
Wrong call on Stoll?
Wild center Jarret Stoll received an illegal checking to the head minor penalty in the third period Saturday. He struck Penguins No. 1 defenseman Kris Letang, who temporarily left the game but returned.
“Going in, in my mind, I thought, ‘Keep my arm to my body and keep my elbow down.’ I thought I did that,” Stoll said. “I thought I hit him on his shoulder. I have a lot of respect for him, and I know he’s had some concussion problems in the past.
“I want to make sure he’s OK, but I didn’t think I got the chin or the side of the head. But maybe it looked like that. I’ve seen the replay a couple times, so we’ll leave it at that.”
• Center Erik Haula, after being scratched three consecutive games, played his second game in a row because Yeo said Ryan Carter (upper body) wasn’t 100 percent.
• Chris Porter, who missed Tuesday’s game because of a lower-body injury, returned.
• Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Letang returned from injuries. Crosby had a goal and an assist, Letang two assists.