The Minnesota Wild have locked up another one of their restricted free agents, signing Louie Belpedio to a one-year two-way contract. The deal will carry a salary of $700K at the NHL level and keep Belpedio a restricted free agent at its conclusion. Kevin Fiala now becomes the final RFA for GM Bill Guerin and the Minnesota front office.
Belpedio, 23, was a third-round pick of the Wild in 2014 but spent one year with the USNTDP and then four years at Miami University (Ohio) before joining the professional ranks. With that long development history behind him he played his first full season in the organization in 2018-19 and was a strong option for the Iowa Wild. In 81 AHL games he recorded 24 points, but will have his sights set on an even bigger role this year.
The Minnesota blueline is quite crowded heading into the year, but should the team run into any injury trouble Belpedio may be one of the first to be called up. Luckily he is still waiver-exempt to start the year and can be stashed in the minor league, only to pop up at the first sign of trouble. After scoring two points in a memorable NHL debut in 2018, the young defenseman played in two more games this past season and was held scoreless.