In a press release, the Minnesota Wild announced that the team has agreed to a one-year, $825K contract with defenseman Calen Addison. Being the last restricted free agent on the roster, the Wild and Addison were able to get a deal done only one day before training camp started.
Coming over to Minnesota in the trade that sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2020, it would take Addison two full years migrating back and forth from Minnesota and their AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, before finally receiving the full-time call-up for the 2022-23 NHL season. Missing three weeks of action in October due to a foot injury, Addison still had a solid rookie season, scoring three goals and 26 points in 62 games for the Wild.
For Minnesota specifically, Addison would break the team’s rookie record for points by a defenseman, and also finish second in all-time points by a rookie defenseman, finishing one point back of Filip Kuba’s 2000-01 rookie season. In the entirety of the NHL last year, Addison would finish first among rookies in powerplay points, and tying for fifth in assists, and third in points for all rookie defensemen, respectively.
Even after his impressive rookie campaign, all signs indicate that Addison will be locked in a battle for a top-four role on the right side of the defensive unit for training camp. Another prospect, Brock Faber, who was acquired by the organization from the Los Angeles Kings in the trade that sent Kevin Fiala to the West Coast, is being given the opportunity to earn that role, after his excellent season at the University of Minnesota last year.
In fact, during the Wild’s opening-round matchup against the Dallas Stars in the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs, Faber played in all six games, averaging over 14 minutes a night, while Addison only suited up for three games, playing a touch over 12 minutes a night.
Although Faber is already seen as a more defensively sound player than Addison on the blue line, as Addison would finish last season with a -17 rating to end the season, Addison’s possession metrics, highlighted by his CF% of 60.8%, and his ability to transition out of the zone and move the puck effectively make him just as solid as an option.
All-in-all, although the winner of the competition remains to be seen, it may come down to Minnesota riding the hot hand for much of the season. Addison will likely still receive an abundance of powerplay time throughout the year, while Faber should garner more defensively-minded roles and situations.
Sarah McClellan of Star Tribune Sports was the first to report that Minnesota had signed Addison