Minnesota Wild might let 'The Boogeyman' walk; Are goons going extinct?

boogeymanfights.jpgFew active players are feared quite like “The Boogeyman” Derek Boogaard. Unfortunately for his bank account, the Minnesota Wild might not be so afraid of going without his services.

Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribune reports that while the team hasn’t ruled out the chance of the frightening enforcer returning to the fold, the team might let him test the free agent market.

Derek Boogaard, the Wild’s 6-8 enforcer, remains unsigned two weeks prior to free agency. And, although General Manager Chuck Fletcher says he’s had “regular conversations going back three months” with Boogaard’s agent, Ron Salcer, Fletcher has indicated that he’s unlikely to re-sign Boogaard prior to July 1.

“We haven’t closed the book either, and maybe we revisit it July 1 or 2 if we don’t [re-sign him before],” Fletcher said. “But we have several areas we’re looking to improve. It comes down to, ‘How much cap space can you allocate to a certain area without compromising other areas?'”

Fletcher has been entrenched in trade talks heading into next weekend’s draft in Los Angeles. He wants to maintain salary-cap flexibility so it doesn’t inhibit any roster moves via trade or free agency.

While Fletcher and other GMs try to put a positive spin on these kinds of situations, it’s hard not to wonder if the Boogard-types are an endangered species (if not extinct). The post-lockout game is so dependent on speed and skill that dressing a player whose sole goal is to throw knuckles can be a serious drawback. Naturally, intimidation will always be a big part of the game, but maybe the big, mean enforcers are giving way to the pesky, middleweight guys who can play a little bit. They might be a bit despicable at times, but the Matt Cooke/Dan Carcillo-type pests tend to be much more useful than pure goons.

Either way, it’s been a bad week for glorified boxers on skates. The Montreal Canadiens started off the contract buyout period by letting Georges Laraque go and now it’s clear that Boogard’s future is in question.

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    Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

    Jaromir Jagr
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    This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

    Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

    Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


    Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

    Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

    Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


    For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

    Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

    Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

    Andrew Hammond
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    Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

    O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

    The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

    He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

    It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.