Questions are sure to arise this offseason in the State of Hockey. The Minnesota Wild, although they forced the series to six games, were dealt with pretty handily in the final days of their season by the St. Louis Blues, capped off by a 5-1 rout in Game 6.
Now, with the full effect of the controversial Zach Parise/Ryan Suter buyouts kicking in next season, many wonder how the Wild will be able to manage their cap space moving forward. NBC Sports’ James O’Brien looks at a few routes the Wild could go down to manage their salary cap situation next season. The buyouts take up a combined $12.74MM next season, and although the team’s cap situation is fuzzy due to the amount of playoff Black Aces still on the active roster, they’ll surely have less than $10MM to work with this offseason. That includes signing Kevin Fiala, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights (again), to a new deal, and finding a goalie to replace (or to-resign) Marc-Andre Fleury. While Fiala could be dealt, especially after an underwhelming playoff performance, they could also look to clear out some depth names. O’Brien names Dmitry Kulikov, who carries a $2.25MM cap hit next season, as another trade piece, although he does have an eight-team no-trade list (somehow).
- While there hasn’t been any official link, and there likely won’t be knowing the tight-lipped Lou Lamoriello, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz names former NHL bench boss Mike Babcock as a potential fit for the New York Islanders’ coaching vacancy. Kurz references Lamoriello’s history with Babcock in Toronto, and Lamoriello’s history of opting for tougher, more aggressive voices in the room as a solution to unsatisfactory team performance. Since then, he’s served as a senior adviser at the University of Vermont and the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan.
- After Jacob Trouba’s controversial hit that gave Sidney Crosby a reported concussion, The Athletic’s Eric Duhatscheck looked at whether the NHL could examine a potential rule change to penalize similar hits in the future. Duhatschek notes that penalizing all hits to the head is extremely unlikely, as evidenced by current NHL leadership’s hesitation against cracking down on body contact. While illegal head contact exists in the NHL, by its definition, the league viewed Trouba’s hit as legal.