GM Chuck Fletcher has had some busy offseasons the last couple of years. He made a big splash by signing Parise and Suter a couple of years ago. He made another splash this offseason by signing Thomas Vanek. GM Chuck Fletcher knows superstars can’t bring home the cup alone. Every team needs a core of young talent and a group of role players to become a Stanley Cup contender. Fletcher loves the young talent the Wild have on their team right now and lately has been rewarding them with new contracts, more money, and establishing the Minnesota Wild as a quality team that will be talented for many years to come.
The Minnesota Wild have gained superior talent throughout the drafting process and by executing trades to add players that fit the Minnesota Wild ways of winning. The young talent for the Wild may not get all the attention from the media but they are getting recognized by the coaching staff and the front office. The young guns Niederreiter, Kuemper, Brodin, and most recently Coyle, have all been rewarded with new contract extensions.
The signing for the youngsters started with the Switzerland native, Nino Niederreiter. The Wild signed Nino in Sept. to a three year extension worth 8 million dollars. The Wild got Nino from the New York Islander. They traded fan favorite Cal Clutterbuck for Nino but I think Wild fans forgot about Clutterbuck quickly after Nino’s game winning goal against Colorado last year in the playoffs. Finding Nino niche has become a reality, the Islanders couldn’t do it but the Wild sure have.
With all the goalie problems the Wild had last season, they needed to get a deal done with their goalie of the future, Darcy Kuemper. In mid-September, GM Fletcher got the deal done. Only a two-year contract but if Kuemper keeps improving as an everyday NHL goaltender, I’m sure Fletcher won’t hesitate to give Kuemper the multi-year contract he deserves. This year Kuemper has four starts and three shutouts, not bad for the 6’5” giant from Saskatoon, Canada, eh?
When you draft an 18 year old from Sweden as the 10th overall pick in the draft you expect him to do great thing. Jonas Brodin is only 21 years old and has already gave the Wild three solid years on the blueline. He has been playing along side one of the best defense in the league, Ryan Suter and has been making the best of it. He already looks like a veteran out there. 33 points in his career and Wild have taken notice to his stellar play. Rewarding Brodin to a 25 million dollar contract but more importantly locking him up for 6 years, solidifying Minnesota’s blueline.
Charlie Coyle put a new meaning to the phrase, “Boston Strong”, last year. The Mass. native had 4 goals, 3 assists, 2 separated shoulders, and 1 gnarly scar across his face last year during the playoffs. Dedication to max; only 22 years old and trying to do anything he could to help the team. Completely FERDA!! (For those who don’t know what ferda that means… look it up!) A remarkable teammate and another young player the Wild wanted to reward, lock up, and add to their future. They signed Coyle to 5-year extension for 16 million dollars early this week and he buried a gino to show his appreciation in Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Wild can’t be done yet. GM Fletcher still has some key signings to complete to enable the young core to stay intact for years to come. Next up for Fletcher are Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula. Both who are playing under their entry-level contracts and they are restricted free agents at the end of the year. Granlund is going to get his money. He has become a solid second line center for the Wild. His production started to skyrocket after the Sochi Olympics, where he had 7 points in 6 games for team Finland. I expect the Wild to sign Granny to either a 3 or 4 year contract at right around 3.5/4 million a year. Right around the price they signed Brodin. Haula, on the other hand, is a third line grinder, who took off in the playoffs last year. 7 points in the playoffs for the former 7th round draft pick from the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). Haula isn’t going to get the money that the other members of the young core got but I think he is still a very important role player for Minnesota. C’mon Fletcher, “Haula at cha boy” and give him some cash flow. I think a 3 year contract around 1/1.5 million would be a reasonable price for Haula.
The young core of the Minnesota Wild has a combined 7 points in 5 games, 3 wins and 3 shutouts. The impacts of these young players are irreplaceable. Fletcher has done a great job signing most of them but his work is not done yet.
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