According to ESPN, this promises to be an active offseason for the Minnesota Wild.
That’s what GM Chuck Fletcher indicated on Wednesday as he vowed to fix his organization’s lack of depth, something that played a role in Minnesota plummeting from first in the league to out of the playoffs last season.
Fletcher called the fall “incredibly tough and disappointing.”
“Clearly we’re going to have to try and add some more NHL talent,” Fletcher said. “Now whether it’s through free agency or through trades we’ll look at both.
“We do have a lot of cap space and a strong desire to get better.”
The Wild project to have over $30 million available for next season with no real significant UFAs or RFAs to negotiate with (maybe Nick Johnson and Guillaume Latendresse…I guess.)
It’s expected highly touted draftees Mikael Granlund, Brett Bulmer, Jonas Brodin and Zack Phillips will all have a shot at making the opening night roster, though Fletcher told ESPN “obviously not all of those players will play in the NHL.”
As such, Fletcher will have to add “NHL talent” — especially in light of how reliant Minnesota was on AHL Houston last season.
The Wild dressed a franchise-high 47 players in 2011-12, due in large part to a rash of injuries.
Of Note: Minnesota will pick seventh overall at the Entry Draft, the highest it’s selected since taking Benoit Pouliot fourth overall in 2005.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.