It’s been a little over a month since the Minnesota Wild’s season ended in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The offseason for the Wild has been quiet since then, but there have been a few happenings around the State of Hockey. Here’s what’s happened in month one without hockey:
As everyone is aware, Devan Dubnyk is a free agent and Minnesota is in need of a goaltender. GM Chuck Fletcher made it clear back in May that both Dubnyk and the Wild were mutually interested in a deal. To many Minnesotan’s pleasure, the two parties began contract negotiations the first week of June. Although nothing has been decided, it’s a step in the right direction for the Wild.
In other news, the Minnesota Wild have yet another goalie problem, but that’s really nothing new. According to Michael Russo of the StarTribune, Niklas Backstrom underwent elbow surgery at the end of the season. After Backstrom struggled immensely during the 2014-15 season, it was assumed Minnesota would buy-out the last year of his contract. However, Backstrom’s surgery complicates that possibility:
“Injured players cannot be bought out unless cleared by team physicians. Last June, the Wild couldn’t use its last of two compliance buyouts on Backstrom because he wasn’t cleared from season-ending abdominal and hip surgeries.” – Michael Russo, StarTribune
Essentially, it’s impossible for the Wild to buy out Backstrom if his recovery is long-term. While this isn’t the end of the world, it’s definitely an obstacle for the team. So far, no other news has been released about Backstrom’s recovery time or the team’s plans for the goaltender situation.
In late May, Minnesota began offseason signings by agreeing to terms with Michael Keranen. The two parties agreed on a one-year, two-way deal. Keranen was the Iowa Wild’s second-leading scorer with 10 goals and 27 assists, and was one of the positives in Iowa’s dismal season.
So far, this is the only contract Fletcher can check off his summer to-do list. While I’m sure there will be more happening in the next month, the Wild are not expected to be big spenders this offseason.
- Niklas Backstrom, as mentioned above, underwent elbow surgery at the end of the season.
- Thomas Vanek had surgery to repair a sports hernia earlier this month. Vanek, who had an unimpressive year, now has somewhat of an excuse for his lackluster performance.
The Minnesota Wild’s preseason schedule was announced Thursday. The Wild will begin their season on Monday, September 21, with a game at home against the Buffalo Sabres. Minnesota will play six games in total: three at home and three on the road. For the complete schedule, click here.
May and June have been relatively quiet for the Minnesota Wild. Maybe that’s for the best, but things are likely to get busier in the near future.
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23