With the NHL Board of Governors meeting seemingly yielding an increased salary cap, there is the instant thought of how does that affect the Minnesota Wild?
Reports from day one of the meeting, per ESPN, have the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman quoted as expected the increase to be to $83 million. That is a neat $3.5 million more than the current salary cap figure.
Now, there will obviously be a drive to go out and spend the additional money, but the Minnesota Wild would be wiser to sit and wait, should the NHLPA, of course, approve such an increase.
The Minnesota Wild’s list of unrestricted free agents this summer is headlined by Eric Staal, who they’d be wise to re-sign though not if the new cap inflates his price steeply. Beyond Staal though, you’re looking at Nate Prosser, Andrew Hammond, Matt Hendricks and Eric Fehr – all role players rather than difference-makers.
In terms of restricted free agents, Joel Eriksson Ek is probably the name you’d expect to bargain for a bit of a raise, though he doesn’t exactly have a great deal of leverage.
All told, the salary cap increase would time quite nicely for the Minnesota Wild. They likely wouldn’t find themselves caught up in the initially inflated free agent frenzy this summer and have time to sit back and make some decisions.
The following summer they’ll have the $5.5 million tied up in captain, Mikko Koivu coming off the books. In all likelihood he must be verging on retirement and seeing his number raised to the rafters.
Likewise, the $3.2 million invested in Charlie Coyle will be off the books, if he hasn’t been traded beforehand.
Of course a decision will have to be made on Jared Spurgeon, who is supremely underrated and could command decent dollars if he heads to free agency in 2020, despite already being on an almost $5.2 million contract.
By then, the Minnesota Wild will know if Luke Kunin is the real deal, likewise Kaapo Kahkonen, who if he continues his current developmental trend, may well be a 1-B to Devan Dubnyk between the pipes.
Mikael Granlund would be the biggest concern of all, but given there’s at least one summer to complete with an elevated salary cap beforehand, you can always hope for even more money to be available to the team when that contract comes up, also in 2020.
All in all, a salary cap increase should be seen as a massive positive for the Minnesota Wild. It’ll allow them to continue to plug-in pieces around the Suter and Parise contracts, which themselves take up less percentage of the entire cap every time it goes up!