Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • Minnesota Wild Unrestricted Free Agents: Who stays and who goes?


    Good afternoon everyone! As part of our end-of-season evaluations (see our grades for the goalies, defensemen, left wings, right wings, centers and team overall) we now move toward the future. No future can begin in this age of sports without looking at the free agents on your team. So, who are our unrestricted free agents (UFAs), what are they worth on the open market, who do we want to keep and whose time in Minnesota has come and gone?

    First, let's define a UFA (Thanks to about.com)

    Players have been given contract extensions, and those that had value and were not planned to return were traded for assets. THis is a huge change from the past, and Fletcher is only entering his second offseason. Big things could be afoot at the X.

    Make the jump. This could get interesting.

    Current Cap Hit: $2.75 million

    Nathan: Nothing would make me happier than watching Cowboy lace em up for the Wild until he retires to a lake and spends the rest of his days doing this:

    However, that is likely not the case. The Irish God of War deserves another shot, wants another shot and that will not be here with the Wild, no matter how much Fletcher offers him. Imagine if Nolan was a third-liner with Chicago or San Jose. He would provide exactly the kind of leadership on and off the ice that these teams (especially Chicago) need, and would come at a value price around $1.5M. He's going to get that shot to lift Lord Stanley's Cup, and I will be cheering my heart out.

    Verdict: Will not return

    Buddha: This may be the most painful loss of the offseason for Wild fans. Nolan needs to go somewhere where he gets to play for the Cup. Unless miracles are worked, the Wild will not contend in such a manner next season. As great as it would be to have Cowboy around to help teach the kids, he deserves a shot, and the Wild simply cannot offer that. I think it is a mutal decision to let him find a new home.

    Verdict: Will not return

    Verdict: Re-sign 1-yr, $1.5 - 2 Million

    Current Cap hit: $930K

    Nathan: Oy, this is actually the hardest one to evaluate. Has the age of the Boogeyman come and gone? According to many experts, Boogaard is feared, but people are unwilling to fight him, and instead are taking advantage of his time on ice, and his +/- shows this. He doesn't score, the Wild don't have anyone to protect who cannot protect themselves (yet), and there are other guys on the roster who can drop the gloves if necessary. All that said, Boogaard can be picked up cheaply, but is he coveted by someone else in the league? We know Richards likes Boogey, even though he still hasn't taken advantage of his size in front of the net, but can that money be better spent somewhere else?

    Verdict: Will not return
    Buddha: Ah, the Boogeyman. What do you do with the Boogeyman. Fletcher cannot do the right thing here. He can't. It's impossible. Half the fans want him gone due to his inability to do anything other than intimidate, half the fans want him around because of his ability to intimidate. If it were me? Boogey finds a new home. Before you fillet me, it isn't due to the fact that Boogey isn't liked. It has to do with the fact that there are cheaper options out there, and the teams that are contending in the playoffs don;t have a Boogaard type guy on their roster. It's nice having him around, but that is for the fans, not the team.

    Now, Todd Richards has made it clear he likes Boogaard's element in the game. So, that trumps anything I may think.

    Verdict: Re-signed. 1 year, $1 million.

    Verdict: Re-sign 2 yrs, $850k per season

    Current Cap Hit: $750K

    Nathan: Hnidy didn't stand out either positively or negatively, which frankly, is the sign of a solid stay-at-home defenseman. However, with the defensive prospects the Wild have, I don't see room for Hnidy on the roster.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Buddha: The Sheriff was a perfect defensive defenseman for the Wild last season. He was invisible on the ice. He has no memorable gaffs, and no memorable offensive moments. He simply did his job, and did it well. Not a shut down guy, but not a liability. What more can you ask from a defensman at $750K a year?

    That said, the Wild have too many prospects waiting for a chance. There is no way the Wild sign Hnidy given the chance to bring up their young guns.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Current Cap Hit: $487K

    Verdict: Re-sign 2 yrs, $650k per season

    Buddha: What do you do with Ebbett? Well, it all depends on the prospects of Bouchard coming back next season, if Fletcher can find a #2 center, and what role you think he will play. If Bouchard is coming back, and is going to be a center (as was the plan), Ebbett is out. If Fletcher finds a #2 center, Ebbett is likely out. If Ebbett wants to be more than a fourth line checker for little or no raise, he is out.

    Ebbett played hard, provided spark, and did everything asked of him. He is also extremely replaceable.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Verdict: Re-sign 2 yrs, $800k per season

    Nathan: This might depend upon Boogaard's future. If Boogey is back, Scott is unnecessary. If Boogey is not back, they may keep Scott, even with the abundance of defensemen. After all, who doesn't want to see this?

    All that said, I don't see him breaking into the lineup, but he'll catch on somewhere else.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Buddha: Big John Scott. The man may never hear his name as John Scott again. Tough, big, solid. Untested, untrusted, unneeded. There is a non-hockey connection here that makes it sad for me to say that Scott won't be back, but Scott won't be back. The only strange twist of fate I can think that returns Scott to Saint Paul is if Boogaard is not signed, and Richards is so desperate for that type of player that he is willing to move Scott to wing. Odds? 500 to 1 against.

    Verdict: Will not return.

    Verdict: Will not return

    Odds are 2 to 1 and pick 'em about which of these guys may be back. Count on Dubie not being around due to the promotion of Matthew Hackett. If Harding winds up on another squad, it is likely Borat ends up with the Wild, and Hackett may become the starter in Houston. He would need a back-up, so perhaps Barry Brust gets to return in a limited role.

    All of that said, changes are coming to Houston, and the new regime looks to be prospects first, veteran AHLers second.

    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...