Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon hadn’t hidden his desire to sign a long-term extension with the team but talks didn’t appear to be progressing under former GM Paul Fenton. With new GM Bill Guerin in the fold, the two sides were able to agree to a deal as the team announced that they have signed Spurgeon to a seven-year, $53.025MM contract extension that will kick in for the 2020-21 season. The $7.575MM AAV checks in slightly above that of veterans Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, making him the highest-paid player on the team when the contract kicks in.
The 29-year-old is coming off of a career season in 2018-19. He set new marks in goals (14), assists (29), and points (43) while logging more than 24 minutes a night for the third straight season. That workload was the second-highest on the team behind Suter while his total ice time played ranked eighth overall in the league.
Back in December of 2015, Spurgeon signed his current deal, one that carries a cap hit of just under $5.2MM. At the time, he didn’t have a significant track record so it was perceived to be somewhat of a risk. Instead, it has turned into quite the bargain as he has performed as a quality top pairing player at a rate that third and fourth blueliners have been getting on the open market.
Spurgeon has spent his entire nine-year career with Minnesota after not signing with the Islanders who drafted him in the sixth round back in 2008 but opted not to sign him, a decision they’d clearly like a do-over on. Meanwhile, the Wild’s decision to take a chance on him has certainly worked out better than they could have hoped.
With the deal, Minnesota could have a little bit of stability on their back end as all seven of their NHL defenders would be signed through the 2020-21 season. They also now have more than $70MM in commitments for that campaign although they now have 19 players signed. That should allow them to have some flexibility in free agency one year from now.
Michael Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link) was the first to report that a deal was imminent.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.