The Minnesota Wild made the playoffs, kicking and screaming. They lost 5 in a row to end the season before losing their first round series versus the Dallas Stars in 6 games. Head Coach Mike Yeo was fired in February, replaced by John Torchetti.
Cap space: $7.56MM, 15 players under contract
Key RFAs: Defenceman Matt Dumba – The 7th overall pick in 2012 broke out this season, scoring 10 goals and 16 assists in 81 games. He averaged just under 17 minutes per game. Dumba was also solid for Canada’s gold-medal-winning squad at the World Championships. The Wild should be able to get him under contract for a bridge deal and let him prove himself before committing to a longer term deal.
Key UFAs: None
Outlook: Bruce Boudreau is taking over the head coaching job. The former Ducks and Capitals coach has had tremendous success in the regular season, but has been unable to translate that to a Stanley Cup. The former member of the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints has lead his teams to 8 division titles in 10 seasons as a head coach.
The Wild may look to trade or buy out inconsistent winger Thomas Vanek this summer. Vanek is entering the last year of his contract, worth $6.5MM per season. A buyout would cost the Wild $1.5MM this season and $2.5MM next season. Vanek was a healthy scratch at times last season, but did score 41 points last season. The Wild may want to keep their powder dry and hope he bounces back.
The Wild have 4 selections in the 2016 draft, and two of them are 7th round picks. Besides the 15th overall pick, the Wild have their own fourth and seventh round picks and the Panthers seventh from the Sean Bergenheim trade.
Rugged winger Alex Tuch, the team’s 18th overall pick in 2014, is leaving Boston College and will begin playing pro. He’ll likely see time with the Iowa Wild in the AHL.