Mikael Granlund had a career year.
Nino Niederreiter had a career year.
Both Minnesota Wild forwards are also on expiring contacts, pending restricted free agents and due for raises after scoring 26 goals and 69 points, and 25 goals and 57 points, respectively. In fact, Granlund had never scored more than 13 goals in a single season, before doubling that amount in a breakout 2016-17 campaign.
As of this week, the Wild had not started negotiations with either Granlund or Niederreiter, per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
With key dates coming up in the NHL offseason — the expansion draft, a waiver/trade freeze, and the entry draft — Niederreiter’s name had reportedly come up in trade rumors last month.
An unusual name started circulating in trade circles the last few days: Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter. The 24-year-old winger had a career-high 25 goals in 2016–17, and, after making a few calls, it sounds like teams are looking at the Wild’s expansion/cap situation, wondering if he could be available. Two years away from unrestricted free agency, Niederreiter is arbitration eligible and will get a nice raise from the $2.7 million he just earned.
The Wild also need to re-sign Mikael Granlund. As an exec from another team put it, “It may not be their first choice, but if you make it worth their while, it’s possible.” All GM Chuck Fletcher would say is, “We are actively listening… on everything.”
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has previously stated he’d like to keep both forwards in Minnesota. Of course, it depends on a number of variables. According to CapFriendly, Minnesota has $61.5 million committed to 15 players for next season.
“We’re going to try to find a way to keep them both here,” Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star Tribune last month. “Certainly there are ways to do it, but you can’t control everything. We need the cap ceiling, we need to know what will happen with expansion, there are other opportunities out there to improve our team.”