The Minnesota Wild’s cap situation isn’t dire, but they don’t have a lot of wiggle room with the ceiling lowering to $64.3 million. That’s problematic because they still need to ink a number one goaltender.
Using one of their compliance buyouts on 32-year-old forward Dany Heatley would be the quickest fix given that it would create $7.5 million in cap space, but that might not be an option, according to the Star Tribune.
The problem is that this summer’s first window for buying out a contract opens 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final and closes on July 5. Heatley is recovering from a torn labrum and would need to be medically cleared before he can be bought out.
“We have a few different ways we can get to the cap,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said. “We have options, but some things are easier done than others.”
With that in mind, it’s believed that defenseman Tom Gilbert is on the trading block and might even be an alternate candidate to be bought out.
Like Heatley, Gilbert only has one season left on his contract. Buying out Gilbert would save the team $4 million in cap space after he recorded 13 points and had a minus-11 rating in 43 games in 2013.
The team might also shop forwards Devin Setoguchi, Kyle Brodziak, Zenon Konopka, or even the rights to soon-to-be restricted free agent Cal Clutterbuck.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with teams and we’re taking as many calls as we’re making,” said Fletcher. He’s expecting trade discussions to heat up on Wednesday when the league’s GMs meet in Boston.
There’s also a chance that Heatley will be healthy when the next buyout window opens after the arbitration period, but that one’s a little more complicated. Even if Heatley is medically cleared by that point, they can only take advantage of that opportunity if they take one of their restricted free agents to arbitration.
Either way, addressing the team’s needs while staying under the cap will be a challenge, but Fletcher isn’t too worried.
“There are a lot of teams that are in worse shape than we are,” he said.