September is almost here, and that means the Minnesota Wild’s offseason is coming to a close. It’s just about time to head back to the Xcel Energy Center, but before you go running to St. Paul, catch up on any Minnesota Wild offseason happenings you might have missed.
The Wild didn’t acquire many new players this summer, but general manager Chuck Fletcher was still plenty busy locking up Minnesota’s free agents:
- Minnesota signed Mikael Granlund to a two-year, $6 million contract to keep the 23-year-old Finn in a Wild sweater until 2018.
- Defenseman Nate Prosser and center Ryan Carter were re-signed, as well. Prosser received a two-year deal, while Carter was given a one-year contract.
- Masterton Trophy winner Devan Dubnyk agreed to a six-year, $26 million contract in late June. “The most exciting thing for me is knowing I get to be part of a really good hockey team for a long time,” Dubnyk told the StarTribune after signing.
- The Wild signed former Minnesota Golden Gopher Mike Reilly to a two-year, entry-level contract. Reilly, a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, caused a bit of a racket after signing with Minnesota instead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Many Blue Jackets, including Ryan Johansen, voiced their disapproval of the deal.
We didn’t want him anyway
— Ryan Johansen (@RyanJohansen19) June 17, 2015
- Center Erik Haula filed for arbitration, but agreed to terms on a two-year deal before the hearing.
- Minnesota re-signed defenseman Christian Folin to a two-year contract.
- The Wild’s 2015 first-round draft pick, Joel Eriksson Ek, agreed to a three-year entry-level contract.
- Brett Bulmer, who spent all of last season playing with the Iowa Wild, signed a one-year, two-way deal.
Minnesota’s current roster looks extremely similar to last season’s, but this year’s team will be missing just a couple familiar faces.
- After six seasons in a Wild sweater, Kyle Brodziak left Minnesota for the St. Louis Blues. The 31-year old agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal.
- Minnesota also lost Chris Stewart, who signed with the Anaheim Ducks.
- Defenseman Jordan Leopold will not be rejoining his hometown team, and is possibly considering retirement. Keith Ballard is also not expected to return to the NHL after suffering a concussion and facial fractures during a game against the New York Islanders last December.
- The Wild bought out Matt Cooke with one year left on his contract. Cooke is currently an unrestricted free agent and has yet to sign with another team.
A couple Minnesota Wild players underwent surgery to repair injuries received during the season, but all look to be healthy for the start of camp.
- Thomas Vanek had two hernias repaired early in the summer. Vanek has said the injury bothered him for a good chunk of last season, so hopefully repairing the hernias will mean a more productive season for him this year.
- Niklas Backstrom underwent surgery to repair an elbow injury he claims to have suffered from since last September. In the spring, the goaltender says he began to experience nerve damage and could not drive a car or hold a phone with his right hand. The Wild planned to buy Backstrom out of the final year of his contract, but couldn’t do so as Backstrom was not cleared to play. The 37-year old will most likely end up being the Wild’s third goaltender during the 2015-16 season, seeing that he has a no-move clause and is not likely to be traded.
- Matt Dumba changed his number from 55 to 24 and caused some sadness among Minnesota Wild fans on Twitter:
Matt Dumba changing numbers. I’m gonna really miss the Dumba55 jokes. — Danilo (@DJSchoes) July 28, 2015
- The Xcel Energy Center is getting new seats. Wild fans rejoice! Season ticket holders have the option to buy the old seats, if they would like.
Yes, the Wild’s offseason was so dull that new seats are included in the offseason review because it was one of the more exciting things to happen all summer long. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the season is more entertaining than the offseason. With the summer almost behind us, what are you most looking forward to this season?
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