Put another pair of tick marks on Chuck Fletcher’s offseason to-do list.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild announced they’ve agreed to a two-year, $6M extension with RFA forward Mikael Granlund and confirmed the signing of collegiate free agent Mike Reilly.
The Granlund deal was considered Fletcher’s last important signing after getting the likes of Charlie Coyle, Marco Scandella and Devan Dubnyk all signed to new contracts. Granlund, the club’s first-round pick (ninth overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is coming off a solid campaign in which he scored 39 points in 68 games, and another six in 10 playoff appearances.
Granlund will now carry a $3M average annual cap hit — up from $900,000 on his entry-level deal — and will net $2.8 million in salary the first year, and $3.2M the second.
As for Reilly, news of his signing broke last week, making today’s announcement more of a formality. The skilled d-man, a Hobey Baker finalist this year, led the University of Minnesota in scoring this season and signed a two-year pact with the Wild. No word yet on the financials.
The Minnesota Wild have confirmed their intentions to buy out the remaining season of Matt Cooke’s contract.
“In order to give our team more salary cap flexibility for the upcoming season we needed to make this difficult decision,” said GM Chuck Fletcher in a release. “We thank Matt for his time with the Wild and wish him the best going forward.”
Once Cooke clears waivers, the 36-year-old winger will become an unrestricted free agent, though he cannot re-sign with the Wild. Per CapFriendly, the buyout will result in a cap hit of $500,000 for next season and $1 million in 2016-17.
The Wild need the “salary cap flexibility.” Devan Dubnyk is a pending unrestricted free agent, while forwards Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula are pending RFAs.
According to Michael Russo of the StarTribune, there “has been little headway toward a new deal” for Dubnyk, who will officially become unrestricted on July 1.
It sounds like Matt Cooke’s time with the Minnesota Wild is over.
According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Cooke has been placed on waivers, the move likely a precursor to a buyout.
Cooke has one year remaining on his contract, with a salary of $3 million and cap hit of $2.5 million. According to CapFriendly, the buyout will result in a cap hit of $500,000 next season and $1 million in 2016-17.
The Wild could use the cap relief. Goalie Devan Dubnyk is a pending unrestricted free agent, while forwards Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula are pending RFAs.
Cooke appeared in just 29 games for the Wild in 2014-15 (he had a sports hernia), scoring four times with six assists.
Related: Wild reporter pegs Dubnyk deal at ‘well north of $3 million per’
Both the Minnesota Wild and Devan Dubnyk’s reps admit the obvious: contract talks won’t be easy. On the bright side, it sounds like each side hopes to get something done.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and Dubnyk’s agent Mike Liut spoke to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun about the beginning of the give-and-take.
“That’s the goal on both sides, we’ve started the process,” Fletcher said. “I’m certainly hopeful, but it takes a little bit of time to get everything in place, there’s a lot of moving pieces. But the dialogue has been good, we’ll see what transpires.”
As PHT pointed out before, this could be a fascinating situation, especially if Dubnyk indeed costs “well north of $3 million.”
It seems pretty obvious that Dubnyk would like to stay in Minnesota, even beyond comments that may be construed as positive PR. That said, assessing Dubnyk’s market value is a subjective process, to say the least.
The biggest factor is the Wild’s cap situation, though, really. LeBrun points out that the Wild hope to figure out a solution for Niklas Backstrom and his $3.42 million cap hit, whether that comes down to a trade (good luck) or a buyout.
Consider these two points about Minnesota’s cap situation, though:
- Even if they’re stuck with Backstrom, his contract expires after 2015-16. They also get rid of some shaky deals, such as Keith Ballard’s contract. The Wild’s situation isn’t all bad, in other words.
- General Fanager pegs Minnesota’s upcoming cap space at about $7.8 million. They have some fish to fry (especially deals for Mikael Granlund and maybe Kyle Brodziak), but you get the impression that they have a good chance to retain Dubnyk … if the price is right.
It would be a bit surprising to see Dubnyk leave Minnesota, yet a lot can happen before (and after) July 1.
The Minnesota Wild have re-upped with Michael Keranen on a one-year, two-way deal, the club announced on Friday.
Keranen, 25, arrived in North America last year with some fanfare, joining the Wild after a successful stint in the Finnish League that culminated with him winning the Lasse Oksanen Award as the top player during the regular season.
Though he didn’t play in Minnesota in 2014-15, his play with Iowa did merit a recall in mid-Ferbruary, when Tomas Vanek was dealing with an injury. Overall, Keranen finished his first AHL campaign with a team-high 27 assists, to go along with 37 points and 147 shots on goal.
Keranen could compete for a big-league job next season. Minnesota is relatively tight to the cap and may need to part ways with a few of its veteran UFA forwards (Minnesota has four in Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Carter, Sean Bergenheim and Chris Stewart). All of their futures are likely tied to how GM Chuck Fletcher handles his two biggest priorities this offseason, RFA forward Mikael Granlund and UFA goalie Devan Dubnyk.