The Minnesota Wild seem to be a team on the way up. The team may have lost in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs to the Vegas Golden Knights, but put together an interesting season in which they should continue to get better.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo (subscription required) writes that the team expects to have a busy offseason, which includes dealing with the challenges of the expansion draft as well as re-signing restricted free agents Kirill Kaprizov, Joel Eriksson Ek and Kevin Fiala. While all three should get significant raises, trading one of them is always a possibility. In fact, Russo suggests the team could consider packaging Fiala in a deal to upgrade at the center position in a bold move, even suggesting that the Wild could be serious bidders for Buffalo’s Jack Eichel.
- In a Q&A with St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, beat writer Lou Korac writes that the Blues are focused on getting an extension worked out with veteran winger David Perron. The 33-year-old has only gotten better as he’s gotten older. After a 16-goal season with Vegas back in 2017-18, he has been a key contributor for the Blues since signing with them. He scored 23 goals in 2018-19, 25 goals in 2019-20 and posted a 19-goal, 58-point campaign this year in 56 games. “He’s passionate about the game,” said Armstrong. “He works at the game, he’s evolved with the game, his puck-protection skills are top level. His ability to create offense for himself is top level. He goes to the harder areas. He’s here next year and as long as he wants to play, I don’t know why the St. Louis Blues wouldn’t want him.”
- In a somewhat surprising development, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reports that Robin Lehner, not Marc-Andre Fleury, is expected to be in net tonight for Game 1 against the Colorado Avalanche. Many expected Fleury to get the nod for an eighth-straight game. The veteran was dominant against the Minnesota Wild with a 1.71 GAA and a .931 save percentage in those seven games. Of course, Lehner is also considered a top goaltender for the Golden Knights. The 29-year-old finished the season with a 2.29 GAA and a .913 save percentage in 19 regular season games. Head coach Peter DeBoer did something similar a year ago, allowing Fleury to start Game 1 against the Dallas Stars in the conference finals. Fleury played well, but Vegas lost, which prompted DeBoer to play Lehner for the rest of the season. Could we see a reverse move made this year?