The Wild are finally at full strength after only recently getting fully healthy for the first time this season, but will there be any personnel changes before the NHL trade deadline?
“The team will tell me what direction we’re going to go,” CEO Bill Gehry said Saturday, referring to the Wild’s first half. “If we’re flying high and doing really well, then we’ll talk about making moves and seeing if we can improve. Or maybe we’ll stay the same. I don’t know.
“If we’re not doing well, we need to talk about what to do about it.”
Since taking over as GM in 2019, Guerin has embraced both approaches.
He was an avid buyer last year, bringing in a goaltender Marc-Andre Fleurydefender Jake Middleton and strikers Nic Deslauriers and: Tyson Yostwhich clearly indicated that the team was loading up to make a long playoff run.
In 2021, Guerin did not make any additions or subtractions.
Both seasons ended with a first-round exit.
Guerin, who said the Wild are in a “good spot” after finishing with 50 points in the first half (23-14-4), doesn’t believe in sacrificing too many assets for rental players, and he wonders how the deal might affect: team culture and chemistry.
However, he said if there is a move that could improve the Wild, he will explore it.
The NHL trade deadline is March 3, and the Wild have some flexibility; According to CapFriendly.com, their projected cap space is around $3.75 million.
Already this season, they’ve tweaked their roster by trading for a striker Ryan Reevesand much of the Wild’s growth since their slow start has come since the Raves’ Nov. 23 arrival from the Rangers, no coincidence for Guerin.
“We were flat,” he said. “There was no noise. That energy wasn’t there. It was just flat. I don’t know why, but it did, and he’s not the kind of person to let that happen. He’s the same every day and that’s it. high energy and he loves his job and he loves being here and coming to the rink and it’s contagious.”
Guerin said the Wild looked into signing several players, but he did not specify who.
The Wild will have several restricted free agents after the season, including a forward Matt Boldy and goalkeeper Philip Gustavsson. When it comes to pending unrestricted free agents, the quarterback leads that group Matt Dumba.
Next offseason is also when the cap hits Zach Parise and: Ryan Suter The purchases increase to their highest value of approximately $14.7 million. That means as it stands now, the Wild will have roughly $16 million in total cap space to spend on new contracts for nine of the players on their current roster. (This accounts for the $1 million increase in the NHL salary cap that is expected.)
“We’re trying to make calculated moves,” Guerin said, pointing out Sam Steele and Gustavsson’s achievements.
Steele became the Wild’s no. 1 center when he signed a one-year, $825,000 contract as a free agent, and Gustavsson is coming off a season in net after the Wild moved him to the outfield. Cam Talbot trade with Ottawa.
“We just have to keep doing things like this,” Guerin said. “It’s a little more difficult. Big deal.”
Marco Rossi In 17 American Hockey League games with Iowa State, he is on pace for a point in just one game, one more game than the center has played with the Wild since making the team out of training camp.
Since being sent down to the minors on Nov. 28, Rossi, the ninth overall pick in 2020, has five goals and 11 assists for 16 points.
“Consistency is a really hard thing for young players to figure out and find,” Guerin said. “He’s getting a small number of games and then he’ll have a night off or slower, then they’ll reset him and he’ll come back and play better.
“We just don’t have the space right now [in the Wild lineup], and it makes no sense to elevate Marco for a hot dog in the stands right now. It’s better if he just plays. But he’s doing well.”