After they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs once again, there appears to be somewhat heightened pressure Minnesota Wild to find a way to build a winning team within the three-year window Kirill Kaprizov’s current contract provides, as he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2025-26 season. But while that pressure on GM Bill Guerin likely exists, it is unlikely to materialize into a big-spending offseason for the team, as similar pressures might do for another franchise.
In a mailbag article today, The Athletic’s Joe Smith and Michael Russo warned for Wild fans to expect “the quietest July 1 in team history,” with maybe a two-way depth forward or a defenseman brought in at a bargain-bin price. (subscription link) This should not come as a surprise to anyone who frequents Minnesota’s CapFriendly page, of course, as the franchise remains completely financially hamstrung by their buyouts to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The dead cap figures associated with the two players’ bought-out contracts will rise $1MM each to $7.37MM this year, bringing the team’s total dead-money expenditure to about $14.7MM. In a flat-cap environment, it’s next to impossible for a team to add market-rate free agents to supplement its roster with that kind of cap constraint, and it’s likely we’ll see that this summer, perhaps even more than we did last year when Minnesota still managed to sign a player like Alex Goligoski to a $2MM a year contract extension.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- Who the Calgary Flames are targeting in their search for a general manager to replace the departed Brad Treliving has gotten some more clarity, as DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports that the team plans on pursuing permission to interview Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Brandon Pridham. Pridham, 49, has been with the Maple Leafs’ organization throughout their current rebuild, beginning as special assistant to the general manager before being promoted to assistant general manager for the 2018-19 season. Per Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson, Pridham “has a reputation as a salary-cap whiz,” which is a trait that the Flames could certainly use as they navigate a future with some key players, such as Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Tanev on contracts that expire after next season.
- With the elimination of the Edmonton Oilers at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights last night, the later ends of the NHL draft order were finalized further. Edmonton’s first-round pick, one that belongs to Nashville thanks to the Mattias Ekholm trade, is now locked as pick 24, while the draft pick the St. Louis Blues are receiving from the Toronto Maple Leafs is locked into the number-25 slot. San Jose will pick at 26 with New Jersey’s first-rounder received in the Timo Meier trade, while Colorado will pick 27th, and Toronto will select 28th using the Boston Bruins’ first-round pick, an asset they acquired from the Washington Capitals in the Rasmus Sandin trade.