Of all names in trade speculation coming out regarding the Minnesota Wild, Jared Spurgeon’s was perhaps the most surprising. While the 29-year old defenseman has just one year remaining on his current contract, he is also one of the most consistent two-way defensemen in the league and is coming off a career-high 43 points for the Wild. Spurgeon was forced to carry more of the offensive load after Matthew Dumba went down with injury, and ended up averaging more than 24 minutes a night for the third consecutive season. That kind of player is extremely hard to come by, which made it curious why his name was coming up in any speculation. Wild GM Paul Fenton put an end to that today while speaking to reporters including Michael Russo of The Athletic, indicating that he does not plan on trading Spurgeon and instead wants to sign him to an extension.
The Wild have made their fair share of trades over the last few months as Fenton tries to put his signature on the club, but trading Spurgeon may be the limit he’s unwilling to cross. After sending Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund packing in three separate trades, Jason Zucker has also been included in talks and is expected to be dealt at some point. Part of the rationale behind those moves was clearing long-term salary off the books, probably in order to do something like extend Spurgeon. Minnesota is still hamstrung by the massive contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise—even if both are still fine players—and already have multi-year commitments to several other players.
It’s not just Spurgeon who will need a new deal soon however, as fellow defenseman Jonas Brodin will be looking for a raise after his current deal ends in 2021. Kevin Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek are already restricted free agents this summer, and a decision will have to be made at some point down the road on Devan Dubnyk’s future. Locking up Spurgeon to a long-term deal certainly keeps around a great player, but also makes everything a little tighter in terms of cap dollars available. Any extension will likely represent a big increase on the $5.19MM cap hit he carries currently, and may even push Suter and Parise for the team’s most expensive contract.