The Athletic’s Michael Russo recently shared that he expects the Minnesota Wild to sign Calen Addison before they kick off training camp. It’s been a complicated contract season for Addison, who doesn’t currently have arbitration rights but will earn them after the 2023-24 season. This fact jumbles up the technicalities of a new deal, drawing out the 23-year-old defender’s contract negotiations.
Calen Addison was drafted in the Second Round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. But before he could play more than three games with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, he was traded to the Minnesota Wild, along with Alex Galchenyuk and a 2020 First Round pick used to take Carson Lambos, in exchange for Jason Zucker.
Since then, Addison has appeared in 74 AHL games and 80 NHL games with the Minnesota organization. He’s tallied 56 career AHL points and 33 career NHL points, including 29 points in 62 games last season. This scoring ranked third among rookie defenders, just a few points behind Buffalo’s Owen Power and Ottawa’s Jake Sanderson. It also marked the most points a rookie defender has scored for Minnesota since Filip Kuba put up 30 points in 2000-01.
But despite the promising scoring, Addison hasn’t carved out a clear NHL role just yet. In an interview with Russo, Wild head coach Dean Evason insinuated that Brock Faber could get a top-four nod. However, he also spoke to the rotation of talent at Minnesota’s disposal when asked if a top-four role may overwhelm Faber, saying: “We are confident [in Faber], but if there’s a situation where we feel that maybe he is overwhelmed because of his first year — we don’t think that’s going to happen, but if he is — it’s an easy flip for us to him and (Jake Middleton) or even Jonny Merrill or Alex Goligoski and Addy. We’ve got seven guys in those guys that we think can all play in the National Hockey League, obviously.”
How Addison finds his footing in such a talented blue-line is yet to be seen. But for the strong-scoring defender, a new deal will at least open an opportunity.