The Minnesota Wild came into the offseason with expectations of change in mind. They tried to move names like Jason Zucker and their GM said they would be busy.
On July 1, they didn’t disappoint fans looking for something newsworthy.
Michael Russo of The Athletic was reporting that the Wild had landed forward Mats Zuccarello on a five-year deal and Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract late Sunday night. On Monday morning the deals were made official.
Hartman has signed on for two seasons with a $1.9 million cap hit per season and Zuccarello has signed for five years at
The Zuccarello Deal
After being traded to the Dallas Stars from the New York Rangers, Zuccarello suffered an unfortunate injury. He missed all but one of the regular season games with the Stars but came back in the playoffs and was one of their best players. He was going to be a popular target in free agency.
Underpaid during his time in New York, Zuccarello was willing to stay in Dallas but he wanted term and money and at his age, too much term was a risk. A five-year, $6 million deal says the Wild didn’t agree.
What Zuccarello Offers Minnesota
Zuccarello has been nothing if not consistent over the past several years. While injuries limited him to 48 games in 2018-19, he had averaged 56 points over the previous five seasons. Now 31 and hurt, he managed to pick up 40 points last season; his 0.83 point per game average was the best of his career. He followed that up with a strong showing in the playoffs, recording 11 points in 13 contests.
The Wild were sellers at the trade deadline, but a five-year term for someone that will be 32 right away shifts the focus back to winning now. There is a virtual guarantee that Zuccarello will not be effective for all five of these seasons. If the Wild are to take advantage of the time they have with him, it’s best to do so right away.
This deal may suggest the Wild are going to do more if they can.
The Ryan Hartman Deal
Less flashy and splashy, the Ryan Hartman two-year deal is believed to be just under $2 million per season.
Hartman has been busy this week. He was dealt from Philadelphia to Dallas in exchange for Tyler Pitlick but he has not tended a qualifying offer from the Stars. He became an unrestricted free agent and had a number of potential options presented to him.
In a relatively short NHL career thus far, Hartman has moved around a lot. He went from Chicago to Nashville in 2018 and then was flipped to the Flyers as part of the Wayne Simmonds trade back in February. He’s hoping to stick with the Wild and be closer to the 30-point player people thought he might consistently be.
Even if that doesn’t happen, Hartman is a capable energy winger and has scored at least 11 goals in each of his first three full NHL seasons. He’ll likely play in a third or fourth line role with the team.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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