Vanek, Stastny, Niskanen, Mitchell on Minnesota’s shopping list

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Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has a shopping list for free agency and it’s rather juicy.

Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports the Wild have been in contact with the agents for forwards Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny as well as defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell.

Chasing Vanek isn’t a surprise as we’ve heard about the mutual interest between the two for a while now. Russo says they may not be thinking long-term with the Austrian star forward.

Vanek, 30, the former Gophers star who lives in Stillwater, might have to consider a one- to three-year deal from the Wild if he wants to play at home in Minnesota.

The reason for that is because the Wild want to go heavily after Niskanen, another Minnesota native.

His breakout season with the Penguins has made him one of the hottest targets in free agency and he’d cure some power play ills for the Wild if he signed there.

The interest in Stastny makes sense because he’d give the Wild another solid player up the middle who can score as well as play strong defensively. Having him line up with Mikko Koivu as the top two centers would give them a very strong setup.

As for Mitchell, he’s a former member of the Wild and showed to be a strong contributor and mentor to younger blue liners like Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez with the Los Angeles Kings. With the host of young blue liners in the Wild’s stable, adding Mitchell would provide depth and a guy for others to learn from.