The Minnesota Wild locked up the first of their three big restricted free agents yesterday, signing center Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42MM extension Friday afternoon. With a $5.25MM cap hit, it provides Minnesota with both long- and short-term cost certainty. As both Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala undergo contract negotiations of their own, the Eriksson Ek deal was a nice one to get out of the way.
Some were quick to defend the deal. After all, Eriksson Ek is just 24 years old and finished fourth in Selke Trophy voting on the back of his best offensive and defensive season yet. While he may not be classified as a bonafide first-line center, Eriksson Ek has already won the hearts of Wild fans with his responsible play.
However, some were quick to criticize the deal, calling it an overpayment and an overcommitment. And while $5.25MM does seem like a lot for a player who’s had a career-high of just 30 points, he was on pace for 44 in a full season this year and over 20 goals. Considering he remains one of the best defensive forwards in the league at such a young age, it’s not unexpected to see differing opinions of such a long-term contract.
So, we ask you, PHR readers, what do you think of the deal? Is it a smart investment by Wild general manager Bill Guerin? Is it too much term and money for a young player who hasn’t proven himself offensively? Or do you think that Eriksson Ek is worth more than the price tag given to him? Vote below, and feel free to comment.
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All contract information courtesy of CapFriendly.