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Article: Bill Guerin's Wild Are Chasing After Bad Bets With Extensions


Tony Abbott
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Yesterday, I honestly thought that there was a plan.  A deliberate and strategic longview... to give this team the best chance to win a cup in that ever fleeting window of opportunity.  I'm not so sure anymore.  

Are these contracts a gamble though?  Or are they more a "play it safe" move?

I would argue the latter.  It makes no sense to give Moose 4 years at 4M.  Zero.  We aren't overpaying for a risk... but rather overpaying for a security blanket.

Zucc 2x4 is bad but I can live with it.

Moose 4x4 is twice as bad and will probably handcuff the team.

With that said, I like both guys and hope they can find their form and make BG look like a genius instead of some dude playing checkers.

 

 

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Tony, I think you've done a great job here showing the collective voice of "what the hell are you doing Bill?" I attempted mental gymnastics to make the Lizard signing work, maybe just let cohesion build with the youth movement in Iowa... But 2 years for Lizard and a 4x4 for Moose? I don't get it unless the Gm thinks the kids are nowhere near as ready as we all hoped they'd be. Maybe they need 2 to 4 more years to develop? I just want to understand the plan at this point is all. My hope and the I believe a lot of people's hope rested on the years right after the buyouts fell off. I am losing the hope everyone, looks like a plan to have more of the same the way this is going. 

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Early reviews are in on Foligno extension and it’s unanimously 👎

 here’s my theory on BG’s reasoning:  Foligno is a solid two way player, good character guy, but not even a middling offensive contributor.  One year when the GREEF line caught lightning in a bottle

 BG sees Foligno as our home grown reeves/maroon type that every locker room needs?!?!  Ok fine, I can understand that logic and even get on board.  But even if he’s healthy for next four years Foligno is just barely more effective player than Oskar sundqvuist.  
billy, put down the culture kool aid and get hockey players in this line up

Edited by Pewterschmidt
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Good morning Tony,  "How ya dooin"? I thought I would feel better after trying to absorb all this and reason this out. Still have a headache with it all.

Funny you should mention the Sopranos, because that was the only thing that put a smile on my face.  When I take this all in, I also had a NY moment but it involved an infamous NHL GM that loves to sign players at the end of their life cycle. BG I thought had a Lou Lameriello  moment yesterday, nothing else makes sense.

On the serious side, I can live with the Zucci contract, but can't reason the Foligno contract other than one thing. They have no one of his mentality and size to replace him in IA or current players. That's the only thing that makes sense. 4 years for $4M doesn't resonate. If I had to live with this contract, two years maybe.

Well here's to losing our f'n minds when we see what Hartzy gets. Praying 3x3.

 

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Another thing about this is the timing of it all. Why not let the season play out? Why not have a bit of roster flexibility up to the trade deadline? Why not see if last year was a mirage or the beginning of a trend? 

I don't believe there was any pressure to sign these guys now. Russo says, "If they play well, they're only getting more expensive." And if they play themselves to a point they price themselves out of Minnesota, then good for then. Shake hands, thank them for the fish and part ways mutually.

But no, get it done now...

Bill Guerin is the king at signing extensions, for term and dollars, that didn't need to be signed at the time because there was zero pressure to do so.

He plays the tough guy GM, but then plays soft with almost everyone over 30.

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14 minutes ago, vonlonster67 said:

On the serious side, I can live with the Zucci contract, but can't reason the Foligno contract other than one thing. They have no one of his mentality and size to replace him in IA or current players. That's the only thing that makes sense. 4 years for $4M doesn't resonate. If I had to live with this contract, two years maybe.

Well here's to losing our f'n minds when we see what Hartzy gets. Praying 3x3.

 

I agree with you on this fully, Zucci, though not thrilled with 2 years, I can live with it. Moose, unless there is an uptick in production which, going into later years not many have, this is going to look bad I think.  Why sign an aging player, who contributes minimal to a 4x4 for grit? While yes Iowa doesn't have a player that fits this from what I have heard how much grit do you need? I would rather have Hartzy, who bring that edge but has more offensive upside. But if Bill hits his pick 3 do we start seeing prospects shipped off and kicking the youth movement down the road another 3 to 4 years instead of 1 to 2?

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7 minutes ago, IllicitFive said:

I agree with you on this fully, Zucci, though not thrilled with 2 years, I can live with it. Moose, unless there is an uptick in production which, going into later years not many have, this is going to look bad I think.  Why sign an aging player, who contributes minimal to a 4x4 for grit? While yes Iowa doesn't have a player that fits this from what I have heard how much grit do you need? I would rather have Hartzy, who bring that edge but has more offensive upside. But if Bill hits his pick 3 do we start seeing prospects shipped off and kicking the youth movement down the road another 3 to 4 years instead of 1 to 2?

This is another BG moment I hope time explains.

In two years we'll be flush with young players impacting our team. I know they all can't play and there will be trades, but 3-4 years I'm not on board with.

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32 minutes ago, Pewterschmidt said:

Early reviews are in on Foligno extension and it’s unanimously 👎

 here’s my theory on BG’s reasoning:  Foligno is a solid two way player, good character guy, but not even a middling offensive contributor.  One year when the GREEF line caught lightning in a bottle

 BG sees Foligno as our home grown reeves/maroon type that every locker room needs?!?!  Ok fine, I can understand that logic and even get on board.  But even if he’s healthy for next four years Foligno is just barely more effective player than Oskar sundqvuist.  
billy, put down the culture kool aid and get hockey players in this line up

I think your are definitely on to something with that summary. 😎

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I’m still trying to come up with the rationale for Moose’s contract. After being surprised/shocked/dismayed after the Zucc signing, Moose’s deal is totally flabbergasting. 
 

About the ONLY rationale I can come up with is that Moose is a placeholder on the 3rd line for the first 2 years until the prospects with higher offensive upside start trickling in. After that he gets relegated to the 4th in a Maroon/Reeves role. Maybe GMBG was tired of chasing cultured/grinding/gritty/vocal leaders in free agency??? Moose HAS TO stay healthy though  

Still do not like this deal. Like I said with the Zucc signing, hopefully DE (or whomever by that time) has the stones to hurt Billy’s feelings and not throw these aging vets out on the ice just because. 

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We covered these guys during the off season related to whether they'd get extensions or be allowed to go to UFA.

Initially we wanted size and speed with scoring. Zuccarello has one but not the others too much. Foligno has the others without the scoring so much. Both guys are important to the team and bring value. The debate over how easy to replace they would be could get heated because of the cost for each guy and what they bring isn't totally black & white.

I've focused on trying to connect the dots over the last few years between "the plan" Guerin eluded to when they bought-out Parise and Suter and what he's doing along the way. Essentially solving the mystery about what exactly the plan is.

We've seen the Wild go for cost certainty, experience, and team culture over flashy trades, rookie entitlement, or a fickle front office. Why? What does that tell us about "the plan" and what it is?

The Wild aren't the oldest or youngest team. They're a perennial playoff club and they've built a nice stable of young prospects. They've got one HOF goalie, a Vezina level guy, and a prospect who looks like he'll be a consistent pro. The defense core is solid despite the loss of Dumba, and the cap penalties. You can make the argument that the new contracts for #36 and #17 are too high or long but there isn't an automatic replacement for either guy that can perfectly step in as Kaprizov's buddy who scores 70+ points, or as glue-guy who hits, fights, and brings hardness to any line as comfortably as Foligno.

Over the Summer, I was one who made a case for how easily these guys could be replaced. Now that the contracts are signed, Guerin has provided explanation, and the term carries both players right up towards retirement age with a cost exactly 1M less to what they were currently costing the Wild, I'm happy with the continuity.

We've seen this before under Guerin. Buyouts were not 100% well received but were great. Staal got traded and people cried, Guerin was a bum. Didn't matter. Big Kahk, Talbot, and Fiala got traded and many fans called Guerin a moron. This is just the latest iteration of complaining from fans pointing out what really should have been done despite there being no certainty with replacement players either. The Wild had zero bad contracts remaining due to Guerin's management but now "these deals are going to cost the Wild." I just don't think it's any different than spending some money to fix up your pickup or selling it and buying a different one you have no history with.(Not brand new due to budget constraints.) Could be good or bad either way, but that's the decision.

To connect this back to my original point, it appears Guerin's plan includes having a playoff team, a team that values prospects, and one that rewards it's veterans. Doing this establishes a culture and pattern of rewards being earned and loyalty is a mutual value. These contracts have not made the team worse. We have to create negative hypotheticals to complain and even alternative suggestions are subject to the same guessing-game about who is available or who can be signed to come to MN instead of Foligno or Zuccarello.(Assuming those players couldn't get hurt or suck and would cost less.) Just sayin, in the end it's six of one, half dozen of the other. If the Wild slight'd their vets or put em out to pasture what message does that send to the young guys about their own futures in MN?

I think it's far too easy to make the comments after Capfriendly and stat-line evaluation. Those two elements are important but not the whole big picture. Guerin's history has been proven effective so I'm not worried that he allocated 8M to these two guys rather than letting em go to save a few million, or for different players at the same cost.

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23 minutes ago, M_Nels said:

I’m still trying to come up with the rationale for Moose’s contract. After being surprised/shocked/dismayed after the Zucc signing, Moose’s deal is totally flabbergasting. 
 

About the ONLY rationale I can come up with is that Moose is a placeholder on the 3rd line for the first 2 years until the prospects with higher offensive upside start trickling in. After that he gets relegated to the 4th in a Maroon/Reeves role. Maybe GMBG was tired of chasing cultured/grinding/gritty/vocal leaders in free agency??? Moose HAS TO stay healthy though  

Still do not like this deal. Like I said with the Zucc signing, hopefully DE (or whomever by that time) has the stones to hurt Billy’s feelings and not throw these aging vets out on the ice just because. 

Moose is an alternate captain and Zucci just had a 75 point season. Yeah they're older players compared to the Wild's AHL and junior prospects, or Kaprizov/Boldy but they're not as old as Joe Pavelski and he just made the Wild look stupid a few days ago. Therefore, people are over-reacting and wishing the Wild could cherry-pick players and costs to fit our cap-penalty paradigm. In the end, this will be as bad as the Fleury or Goligoski contracts which really haven't handicapped or screwed the Wild at all. They're just easy targets for speculation and criticism from the armchair position. It's just so weird, like how many said we should have traded Suter or how Suter still has rubber left on the tires. That ship sailed with no return and no regrets from the organization. Now we can look back and say it was no big deal. This is just like that and the odds either guy goes full-Koivu in their final years while the Wild have zero options is quite low.

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30 minutes ago, M_Nels said:

I’m still trying to come up with the rationale for Moose’s contract. After being surprised/shocked/dismayed after the Zucc signing, Moose’s deal is totally flabbergasting. 

Guerin knows how much Foligno was dealing with injury last year, and how much that likely impacted his production.

For rationale, I would look at the prior 3 seasons. Among Wild regulars who played in the 2019-2022 seasons, only Kaprizov, Boldy, and Fiala scored goals at a higher pace than Foligno 5v5, who was at .99 goals per 60. Hartman was also at .99. Only Boldy and Kaprizov were above that pace last season.

Foligno's role has traditionally been throwing his body and picking fights, but I think Guerin will ask him to do a little less fighting, which is why he's been bringing in other physical players, but none of them were as ideal as Maroon to pick up that role. Playing with Rossi, the Wild are going to ask Foligno and Gaudreau to shut down opposing scoring lines and put the puck in the net.

I'm not saying the signing was great, just trying to provide some possible rationale for keeping Foligno around for a few more years, but that 4th year is tough to believe in even if you believed in this thought process for Guerin.

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23 minutes ago, Protec said:

I'm not worried that he allocated 8M to these two guys rather than letting em go to save a few million, or for different players at the same cost.

Foligno would have been stoked for a 2 year extension... right?  I mean it's not like he has this tremendous leverage that forced the 4 year deal... it was a gift from BG and one that will limit what we can do when the window of opportunity is open.

BTW... I love the well reasoned contrary view to the consensus.

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^^^

I agree with everyone that in a hypothetical situation or if it was a video game, you'd simple make all assessments and decisions based on black and white, pros and cons.

In the real world, I think much more consideration is given to other factors. On top of that, there's the real life consequences and nuance that benefits or penalizes the timing of decisions. 

With that in mind, I think we can better understand what Guerin is doing. I know we want to see new guys step up and for the Wild to go deeper into the playoffs. These deals look like status quo, or perhaps failure to turn the page from the outside. In retrospect Guerin's rewards to players have been okay and his senses have been good. Of all the positive things he's done, I am not gonna be too hard on these for the reasons Guerin mentions himself but also that no big crusty wingers or little Kaprizov buddy who can score is pushing up from the minors with huge emphasis. Nor are the available UFAs out there gonna blow doors off the Norwegian Hobbit or Foligno. So in my book the team isn't worse, and the costs to sign a bigger guy after the cap penalties will be money from 11&20 becoming available, not money taken away from vets who had career years helping MN be near the top of the division.

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Just now, kapislife said:

How about we let some of these young hungry guys have a crack at it? It's very Minnesota sports to keep singing old guys to shit contracts 

I am with you in part, lets see the young guys but I think Protec makes a valid point in the working with what you know you have and having a competitive team. My biggest issue is what happens when we don't have roster spots to bring guys up? But at the same time what if you let go of these guys and bring up a bunch of young guns and they fall flat, it ruins their confidence, and we ask what would have happened if we would have kept Zucc, Harts, and Moose.  I guess I just fall in the I don't understand what the plan is, but I am not the GM so I just have to have faith and hope it works out best for the near and long term.

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42 minutes ago, Protec said:

^^^

I agree with everyone that in a hypothetical situation or if it was a video game, you'd simple make all assessments and decisions based on black and white, pros and cons.

In the real world, I think much more consideration is given to other factors. On top of that, there's the real life consequences and nuance that benefits or penalizes the timing of decisions. 

With that in mind, I think we can better understand what Guerin is doing. I know we want to see new guys step up and for the Wild to go deeper into the playoffs. These deals look like status quo, or perhaps failure to turn the page from the outside. In retrospect Guerin's rewards to players have been okay and his senses have been good. Of all the positive things he's done, I am not gonna be too hard on these for the reasons Guerin mentions himself but also that no big crusty wingers or little Kaprizov buddy who can score is pushing up from the minors with huge emphasis. Nor are the available UFAs out there gonna blow doors off the Norwegian Hobbit or Foligno. So in my book the team isn't worse, and the costs to sign a bigger guy after the cap penalties will be money from 11&20 becoming available, not money taken away from vets who had career years helping MN be near the top of the division.

Protec, being the voice of reason, what fun is that? Haha, but in all seriousness I appreciate you bringing in the faith in BG point of view, because well, what has he done so far that hasn't worked out well/kept them competitive even having a hand tied behind their back.

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What a great way to ruin time optimism for the future than by handing out over paid , ntc s , with term . Spurg, freddy , zucc , hart, moose. . Guys who have had multiple bites at playoffs and no results. To find out at the start of season it’s another 5 years plus to wait for bad contracts to go away to build a legit team is a buzz kill. I don’t care to watch the geriatric wild of past nhl players take on the nhl of the present.. 

   how does bill give moose a raise, term , and ntc for basically pissing off all the nhl refs with his post game an in game comments during playoffs. His foolishness and dean’s personality has every ref in nhl hating us. So we start every game at a disadvantage. That I guess gets you a raise and ntc . 
    The vets aren’t getting better only declining just like the wild the next 5 years. Either we boxed  are kids out , our we’re giving up assets to dump bad contracts that didn’t need to be signed in the first place.  That’s some chuck fletcher kinda gm stuff. 
     I lost faith in bill and Craig. They’re just a pr department selling none sense . We start year saying we’re competing for cup then end of year we say we never had a chance because bad contracts. Such a pr joke! Grifters 

 

 

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I’ll continue to say and stand by this…Bill is not a good GM. Pathetic extensions when we have so many young players waiting for spots.

i can forgive the Zucc signing as maybe it makes Kap happy so he’ll resign here but the Foligno signing is straight up fucking terrible and stupid.

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Tony, you hit the nail on the head. The only thing I can add and stress is the designations. NMC for Zuccarello, NTC for Foligno.

Look, the cap is going up soon, so these future cap hits won't be so bad. But the blocking of the kids is the greatest concern.

Note to Beckman, Walker and the rest of the A hopefuls: 20+ goals and a barely making the playoffs season won't get you any attention. You might as well put up 40+ goals to get noticed, and your team had better be headed for the A trophy. 

And, to some extent, I really don't blame management for this. You've got to produce, not just not look out of place. You've got to bury your chances. Walker and Beckman did neither last season when called up. 

And 1 more thing. For the kids, you've got to take the gym seriously, you've got to get bigger and stronger. You've got to take your nutrition seriously. And you've got to be consistent. When you get your chance, there'd better be documented proof the team is better with you than without you. 

Now, what happens if people are ready before the contracts end? I'm looking directly at Yurov and Khus%^& on this one. Kaprizov is already excited for Yurov to come over. I'm expecting their weight will be filled out like Kaprizov's was. But both are an unknown. Khus%^&* has played 5 games with no points, Yurov 11 with 4 points. They're probably getting robbed of TOI. 

Speaking of prospects, I don't know if you guys caught this but Heidt's first game was a 5 point night!

All is not lost if a youngster claims a roster spot. NTCs and NMCs can be moved, especially if the player who signed them is introduced to a different role. But, each player gets a chance to decide where they're going, and Shooter might already have a handshake deal with them in place for if this happens. Yet, Goligoski apparently chose to not go anywhere last season.

 

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12 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

Now, what happens if people are ready before the contracts end? I'm looking directly at Yurov and Khus%^& on this one. Kaprizov is already excited for Yurov to come over. I'm expecting their weight will be filled out like Kaprizov's was. But both are an unknown. Khus%^&* has played 5 games with no points, Yurov 11 with 4 points. They're probably getting robbed of TOI. 

Johansson's spot should be open after next season. Zuccarello's will open up the year after that. The Wild will be looking to have the most competitive AHL roster they can field. Guerin definitely not into handing out spots for young players who haven't clearly shown they are NHL ready.

The prospects are exciting, but most of these guys will not be ready to truly help a playoff-ready NHL roster before they turn 22+, so the Wild will develop them at the AHL level and have them ready to step in once they've proven it.

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