Defenseman Jared Spurgeon has been the source of lots of speculation with the wildly underrated d-man in a contract year and the Minnesota Wild pressed up against the cap.
The Wild answered some of those questions, signing the Edmonton native to a four-year, $20.75 million contract, the team announced Monday. That comes in at an AAV of $5.1875 million.
When the contract kicks in next season, he’ll be the second highest paid defenseman on the team, coming in just behind Ryan Suter and in front of Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin.
Spurgeon is coming off a season where the 26-year-old scored a career-high nine goals. This year, he has four goals and 12 assists through 31 games. He’s on pace for another career year in multiple categories.
The increased production from the 5-foot-9 defender is nice, but his real value lies in his ability to drive play, jump in the rush and put together an effective zone exit. He’s a smart player that is often overshadowed and whose name gets brushed away around the league as a serious top pairing guy.
Clearly the Wild see his value and were willing to pay the price to keep him around and buy up three years of his UFA status, even though they are in line for cap difficulties again next season with very little coming off the books. Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper are the only contracts north of $1 million that they’ll have off the books and they’re likely to sign or trade Kuemper.
They’ll also have Justin Fontaine becoming a UFA, as well as Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker up for RAF contracts.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) December 21, 2015
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.