The Minnesota Wild look set to begin an offseason where major decisions will have to be made. One of the biggest question marks for this Wild offseason has been their goaltending situation, with much discussion devoted to the feasibility of a Cam Talbot–Marc-Andre Fleury tandem for next season. But yesterday, Fleury spoke on that possibility, stating that a return to Minnesota would be “very appealing,” and it seems that Wild GM Bill Guerin agrees with that sentiment. He was very straightforward when addressing the goaltending, saying that they “want both back,” and that the team “likes both goalies.”
While the Wild’s precarious salary cap situation thanks to the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts will likely be the determining factor in whether or not a reunion actually comes to fruition, it’s clear that all parties involved are interested in getting it done. Playoffs aside, both Fleury and Talbot were great this season, combining for a 41-14-4 record, leading the Wild to one of their most impressive regular seasons in franchise history. It remains to be seen if a Fleury-Talbot tandem can be sustainable for an entire playoff run, of course, but it seems given today’s comments that they will likely get another chance to prove it can work.
Now, for some other notes regarding the Wild:
- The Wild have a decision to make regarding defenseman Filip Johansson, the team’s first-round pick from the 2018 draft. The team can either sign Johansson to an entry-level contract before July 1st or see their exclusive rights to sign him expire. Johansson, 22, has been getting regular minutes for SHL club Frolunda HC for the past two seasons, and just five months ago signed a two-year extension to stay there. What makes this choice interesting is the fact that the Wild stand to gain a second-round pick, 56th overall, as compensation should they choose not to sign him. Michael Russo of The Athletic reports that “they’re not” signing Johansson, meaning the team has chosen the pick over the prospect.
- As previously mentioned, the cost of the Suter and Parise buyouts will cast a shadow on everything the Wild plan on doing this summer. Naturally, the team’s approach to free agency would also be altered, and today Guerin shed some light on his strategy regarding this summer’s open market. Guerin said: “Honestly, we’re pretty set. I don’t know how active we’ll be in the free-agent market.” So, with Kevin Fiala a potential cap casualty, it seems Wild fans should not expect Guerin to target any major free agents when the market opens.