What Pending UFAs Should the Minnesota Wild Pursue?

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As most of you know, the two big signings left for Bill Guerin this summer (after locking up Joel Eriksson Ek for a max eight-year, $42 million contract) are RFAs Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala. While those contract negotiations could go well into the summer, it’s important to know that the yearly #FreeAgentFrenzy opens up on July 28th.

Here is my way of viewing free agency… free agent signings should complement the core of your team, not create them. Quote it, post it and put it on your wall. Overpayments are a huge issue in sports and especially in the NHL, as you can’t just snap your finger like Thanos and vanish a problem contract to make your world a better place. The question for GMs should always be “How can we HELP our team get better?” and not “How can we MAKE our team get better?”.

Things are going to change in the next month. That is certain. But for right now, these are the players on the free-agent market that I think the Wild should show interest in. Ready?

UFAs the Wild Should Target (In No Specific Order)

  1. Alex Wennberg, Center
  2. Paul Stastny, Center
  3. David Krejci, Center
  4. Tomas Tatar, Winger
  5. Jake McCabe, Defenseman
  6. Joel Armia, Center/Winger
  7. Mattias Janmark, Center/Winger
  8. Brock McGinn, Winger
  9. Blake Coleman, Winger
  10. Luke Glendening, Center
  11. Marcus Sorenson, Winger
  12. Derek Forbort, Defenseman
  13. Barclay Goodrow, Winger
  14. Sam Gagner, Center/Winger
  15. Tucker Poolman, Defenseman
  16. Corey Perry, Winger
  17. Mark Pysyk, Defenseman
  18. Michael Bunting, Winger
  19. Travis Boyd, Center/Winger
  20. Jimmy Schuldt, Defenseman

The Obvious

Alex Wennberg, Center

Wennberg is my slam-dunk, favorite move that the Wild could make in free agency to help themselves solidify the center position. Let Marco Rossi marinate at the AHL level with the Iowa Wild and call him up only when you believe he’s ready. Wennberg is a terrific playmaker, with tons of smarts and intangibles that can help the Wild in a variety of ways. As a free agent in the NHL, there aren’t many things more appetizing than playing with Kaprizov. This just makes sense.

If the Price is Right

Blake Coleman, Winger

Since being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Coleman has turned into one hell of a player. Actually scratch that… Coleman has always been a hell of a player. People are just starting to notice now. He’s one of those guys that does absolutely everything to help his team win and isn’t particularly bad at anything. I’d really have to sit with my thoughts for a bit to come up with something bad to say about him. Big time player. The thing with Coleman is that there’s no better time than now to secure the bag. And secure the bag he should!

The Sneaky

Jimmy Schuldt, Defenseman

Two springs ago, Schuldt was the pinnacle of all college free agents. NHL clubs were swooning at the chance to sign the steady, two-way defenseman that led the St. Cloud State Huskies to two-straight #1 seeds in the NCAA. Two years later, and he still hasn’t gotten his shot with the team he chose to sign with, the Vegas Golden Knights. I feel like that means something. Likely losing one of Matt Dumba/Carson Soucy in the expansion draft and potentially losing Ian Cole to free agency this month, the Wild will be in need of a defenseman. Perhaps Minnetonka’s own can be that guy. He can RIPPPPP the puck!