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.
The Chicago Blackhawks have the Minnesota Wild on the brink of elimination, and Corey Crawford did his part in Game 3 on Tuesday with a sensational shutout performance.
We have some video evidence, too.
Among his biggest saves of the night, this one comes against Mikael Granlund on a breakaway in the second period to preserve the 1-0 Chicago lead:
And then there is this desperation save in the third period, during a scramble in his goal crease. Crawford drops the stick and lays down the blocker while falling to the ice, keeping the rolling puck out:
The Chicago Blackhawks needed only the one goal, apparently. Their goalie Corey Crawford was the difference, putting forward arguably his best performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday.
Thanks to a 30-save shutout from Crawford and a goal from the red-hot Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks took Game 3 by a final score of 1-0, and now have the Wild on the brink of elimination and a surprising sweep in the second round.
Kane needed only the slightest space to sneak a wrist shot by Devan Dubnyk on a first-period power play, giving himself at least a goal in each of the first three games to begin this series.
Crawford, who endured his struggles early in the first round, was the story the rest of the way against the Wild. He recorded his fourth career post-season shutout.
He denied Mikael Granlund on a breakaway in the second period. He stuck out the left pad just in time to stop the puck on the goal line during a scramble in front of him in the second.
And again, in the third, with the Wild buzzing around his crease for the equalizer, Crawford was forced to abandon his stick, falling back to keep the puck out with his blocker.
For every challenge the Wild threw his way in Game 3, Crawford had the answer.
And now the Blackhawks are one win away from their third consecutive trip to the Western Conference final.