Monday: The Wild have officially announced the Zuccarello deal as a five-year, $30MM pact, as expected. Zuccarello was one of the earliest prominent free agents to commit to his new team, as he never appeared to waver on Minnesota’s offer.
The terms on Hartman’s deal come in almost exactly as Russo speculated. Colleague Pierre LeBrun reported it is a two-year deal worth $1.9MM, which the Wild have confirmed. Hartman ends up signing well above what it would have cost the Dallas Stars to keep him with a qualifying offer, though possibly less than they may have expected from an arbitration award.
Sunday: It appears Minnesota’s forward group is going to look a bit different next season. Michael Russo of The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that the Wild will sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year deal and Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract when free agency officially opens up on Monday. Zuccarello’s cap hit is expected to be around $6MM while Hartman’s is believed to be just under $2MM.
Zuccarello was one of the top free agent wingers available on the market and has been pretty consistent over the past several years. While injuries limited him to 48 games in 2018-19, he had averaged 56 points over the previous five seasons. Though he was banged up, the 31-year-old still managed to pick up 40 points last season; his 0.83 point per game average was the best of his career. He followed that up with a strong showing in the playoffs, recording 11 points in 13 contests.
Zuccarello is an interesting fit for the Wild. After selling at the trade deadline, this is a pretty quick change of direction and a five-year term for someone that will be 32 by the start of training camp carries some risk. However, he’ll give them a boost offensively and could represent a potential replacement if they eventually find a trade for winger Jason Zucker. Zuccarello ranked ninth in our Top 50 UFA Rankings where we projected a five-year, $30MM deal to the Wild.
Meanwhile, Hartman has had an interesting week. He was dealt from Philadelphia to Dallas in exchange for Tyler Pitlick but a day later, the Stars opted to not tender him a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. He hasn’t had a lot of stability lately as he was moved at the previous two trade deadlines. Hartman went from Chicago to Nashville in 2018 and then was flipped to the Flyers as part of the Wayne Simmonds trade back in February.
Despite that, there’s still some upside with the 24-year-old. While he may not be a top point producer, he can still serve as a capable energy winger and has scored at least 11 goals in each of his first three full NHL seasons. Minnesota will likely slot him in on their third or fourth line and will be counting on similar production for the next two seasons. As he was a late non-tender, he was not considered for our Top 50 UFA Rankings.