While the Wild aren’t expected to be too active in free agency, they have expressed an interest in signing center Matt Cullen, reports Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune. The 40 year old is from the area and has played there before, suiting up for Minnesota from 2010-11 through 2012-13.
However, Cullen has yet to make a decision on his playing future, although Russo notes that he is intrigued by the idea of going back to Minnesota. That said, the thought is that he has been leaning towards retiring as a Stanley Cup champion.
If he does decide to play another season, Cullen should still be able to provide a team with quality bottom six production. He picked up 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games with the Penguins this past season while surpassing the 50% mark at the faceoff dot for the seventh straight season.
Other news and notes from the free agent market which officially gets going on Saturday:
- The Canucks are showing interest in center Alexander Burmistrov, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (Twitter link). The 25 year old is on the open market after Arizona failed to tender him a qualifying offer earlier this week. Burmistrov started this past season with Winnipeg but struggled mightily, recording just two assists in 23 games before the Jets placed him on waivers. The Coyotes picked him up and he fared quite a bit better, scoring five goals while adding nine assists in 23 games while seeing his ice time jump to over 15 minutes per night. He could represent a buy low candidate that’s capable of playing a third line offensive role in the right situation.
- Four teams have expressed an interest in signing unrestricted free agent winger Shane Doan, notes Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports (Twitter link). His agent, Terry Bross, said that a decision won’t come quickly. The 40 year old has spent the entirety of his 21 year NHL career with the Coyotes (and original Winnipeg Jets) organization but the team announced earlier this month that they would not be offering him a new contract. Doan is coming off his lowest full-season output since 1998-99 after collecting just six goals along with 21 helpers in 74 games.
- The Red Wings are interested in blueliner Luke Witkowski, reports MLive’s Ansar Khan. The 27 year old split the season between Tampa Bay and their AHL affiliate in Syracuse. In 39 NHL games, he had four assists and 39 penalty minutes while logging 9:52 per night. He added five assists and 59 PIMS in 19 minor league contests. Detroit is believed to be looking for some grit on their back end and head coach Jeff Blashill is familiar with the Michigan native who coached Witkowski back at Western Michigan in 2010-11.
- Although he received a qualifying offer on Monday, goaltender Marek Mazanec will not return to the Predators next season, GM David Poile told reporters, including Adam Vingan of the Tennessean (Twitter link). The netminder spent most of the season at the minor league level despite beginning the season as the backup to Pekka Rinne. In 47 games with AHL Milwaukee, he had a 27-17-1 record with a 2.67 GAA and a .912 SV%. However, he struggled in his four games with the Preds, posting a 4.72 GAA with a .839 SV%.