The Minnesota Wild made a statement when they signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts. Mediocrity wasn’t satisfying and respectable wasn’t adequate. They hadn’t made the playoffs since 2008 or won a postseason series since 2003 when the duo joined the Wild, but with that move, the franchise loudly declared their Stanley Cup aspirations.
Their first season was a step forward in the sense that they did advance to the playoffs, but being swiftly eliminated in five games by Chicago made the campaign disappointing by the elevated standards they set for themselves. It looked like this season might not turn out any better though. Minnesota ran into injury problems and ended up settling for a Wild Card spot.
That’s moot though as they eliminated the Avalanche in Game 7 tonight.
“It’s huge,” Wild captain Mikko Koivu said of their victory, per the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff. “Not just for the organization, but for the fans.”
“Especially on the road, it’s not easy when the home team gets the momentum, but the whole series was back-and-forth hockey. It went up and down,” Koivu added, according to the Denver Post.
The Wild have only ever gotten this far one other time in their franchise’s history, but if they want to keep going, they’ll have to exact revenge on an intimidating foe. They will face the Blackhawks again and they’re just as strong a team this time around.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?