The Minnesota Wild currently have ten forwards signed to one-way contracts for the upcoming season, plus Matthew Boldy who is a lock to make the opening day roster. Marco Rossi is another young player with big expectations but the team is also looking to add to their group at some point this offseason. Michael Russo of The Athletic tweets that general manager Bill Guerin is still working the trade market but, if nothing can be accomplished there, would look to sign a forward in free agency.
Despite their challenging cap situation, which has more than $12.7MM tied up in buyout penalties from Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild do actually have a fair bit of room to add, should they choose to use it. The team currently sits at about $78.1MM with a projected 20-man roster, meaning they don’t have to just look at league-minimum depth options.
Even if a star free agent like Nazem Kadri is off the table, there are a number of other talented players still on the market. The likes of Paul Stastny, Evan Rodrigues, Sonny Milano, Phil Kessel, Jonathan Dahlen, Johan Larsson, Tyler Motte, and others are still theoretically available, offering various skillsets and upside.
It’s not just the Wild who could benefit from some of these names. The free agent market has cooled significantly over the last week, and it is unclear how much players still left would be able to command. If they are looking for short-term deals at this point to try their hands again in a year, cap-strapped clubs could be able to take advantage.
Guerin has also shown he’s not scared of making a big splash through trade. Already this offseason he has sent Kevin Fiala and Cam Talbot elsewhere, restocking his prospect pool in the process by bringing back Filip Gustavsson, Brock Faber, and a first-round pick that turned into Liam Ohgren. While Minnesota might be facing some difficult cap restraints over the next three seasons, they still look like a relatively competitive group, especially if a player like Rossi can step into some of the vacated offensive minutes that Fiala took advantage of.
Adding a forward at this point would only strengthen the overall depth of the group.