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Archive for the ‘Free Agency’ Category

Report: Havlat and Wild Close – UPDATED

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UPDATE – It’s official.  Havlat to the Wild for 6 years, $30M total.  Also sounds like Chicago didn’t do themselves any favors bringing in Hossa.  Havlat’s tweets don’t sound happy towards Chicago’s management.

Per Mike Russo,

The Martin Havlat race is down to one team — the Minnesota Wild.  The Wild and Havlat’s agent have reportedly been working on the contract for hours now and it sounds like the contract, as it stands, is 6 years for $30M total.  If this is true, this is one heck of a negotiating job by Chuck Fletcher, because the Wild will have addressed two of their four needs, while spending under $7M.  In other words, leaving plenty of room to sign a second-line center AND another defenseman before the season starts.

While there are issues regarding Havlat’s durability, he played in 81 games last season and was an absolute revelation in the playoffs — at least until he ran into the shoulder of Niklas Kronwall.

I’m extremely excited about this, as I’ve always like Havlat and I hope that he finally has turned the corner in his injury issues and is ready to play in the State of Hockey!

Also, Russo reports that the Wild are pushing hard for Saku Koivu — No big surprise here, and I would expect the brothers to be playing together next season.

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Written by bcbenzel

July 1, 2009 at 10:15 pm

And So Ends the Marian Gaborik Era…

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5 years, $7.5M per year.

Does anyone else think this is either going to make Glen Sather look like a genius or an idiot?

Truth be told, I’m glad to be rid of the distraction that has been Marian Gaborik.  From his frequent injury troubles, to his often inflated contract demands, Gaborik has been nothing but a thorn in the Wild’s side over the last few seasons and, I am glad to say, that he is now the New York Rangers’ problem.

Truth be told, this could work out very, very well for the Rags.  When at his best, Gaborik is a dynamic winger that can score with the best of them.  The Rangers witnessed that first hand.  When at his worst, however, Gaborik is oftentimes invisible in all three zones.  The biggest problem with the enigma that is Marian Gaborik?  He’s at his worst more often than not — or at least he was with Minnesota.

Don’t get me wrong.  Marian Gaborik is a fantastic player and has the potential to be a star in this league.  But $7.5M for one extremely good season?  I don’t buy it, not one bit.  If he’s healthy (and he claims he is), he’ll notch 75-85 points for the Rangers…And I doubt he’ll get much more.  Don’t get me wrong…That’s fantastic.  It’s certainly something that the Wild could use on their roster.  But the problem is that now, he has no excuses.  He’s had surgery on both of his hips — that should take care of his groin.  He’s no longer playing under Jacques Lemaire — he can no longer fall back on a defensive system as a crutch.  He’s got support around him — Chris Drury and company should help him shoulder the load.

Will Gaborik flourish or wilt?

I, personally, think that he’s a 80-85 point player, not the 100+ point player everyone seems to think he is.

But I’ve been proved wrong before.

Written by bcbenzel

July 1, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Wild Sign Zanon

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So I’ve returned, after a very long hiatus.  Believe me when I say, it was a much needed one too.  Nothing like a little distance to clear your mind, but there’s no time for waxing poetic…It’s free agent time!

The Wild kicked off their free agency day with a whisper, rather than a bang.

They have shown a propensity over the last couple weeks to bring in players that are familiar with new coach Todd Richards (who I am very optimistic about, by the way) and this is no different.

The Wild used their first signing of the day, bringing in defenseman Greg Zanon, previously of Nashville.  Zanon, 29, is a defensive defenseman through and through.  Zanon played all 82 games for Nashville last season and had 237 blocked shots and 153 hits.  In other words, he’ll be manning the fifth/sixth defensive slot and spending a lot of time on the penalty kill for Minnesota.

I like this signing for the simple reason that I like the way that Zanon plays the game.  He is definitely not a signing that we would have seen in the Risebrough/Lemaire era, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Zanon is a rough and tumble d-man, of which we already have John Scott, but Zanon also is a much better skater than Scott.

Like any signing, time will tell how good this really is, but right now I think it’s an optimistic first signing for the Chuck Fletcher-era team.

Written by bcbenzel

July 1, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Wild Re-Signs John Scott

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Per Russo,

The Wild has re-signed one of its unrestricted free agents.

In his first move as the acting general manager, Tom Lynn — who negotiated every contract anyway in his previous role as assistant GM — signed defenseman John Scott to a one-year, $550,000 contract.

The 6-foot-8 Scott had one assist in 20 games this season, providing a physical presence on a non-physical blue line.

The Wild’s other notable unsigned unrestricted free agents are Marian Gaborik, Martin Skoula, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Kurtis Foster and Stephane Veilleux.

A few days ago, this signing would have meant that the Wild have made a decision on one of their 5th or 6th d-men.  Today, I’m not so sure.  Assistant GM Tom Lynn has made this signing and it has been confirmed by Russo that this is a one-way contract.  One thing that we do know is that Lynn might be on his way out in Minnesota and the team’s new GM may have a different opinion ofScott’s abilities.  One thing is for sure, though.  Scott is a physical presence on the team’s blueline; something that they desperately need.

Now don’t get me wrong; I love the big guy.  He brought something to our team that we have never had before and he actually made forwards skate through the neutral zone with their heads up.  Keeping that in mind, however, Scott is not the world’s greatest skater nor is he very fleet of foot.  All of this adds up to the fact that he might be the odd man out if the team begins playing a more up tempo style of hockey.  Although he’s never going to be more than a third-pairing defenseman,  Ithink that Scott can contribute a lot to this team in the way of a physical presence and I think that he could find himself logging regular minutes next season in the right system.

With this signing in mind, here is our current line up without any of our free agents:

Brunette/Koivu/Miettinen
Nolan/Belanger/Bouchard
Vacant/Sheppard/Clutterbuck
Boogaard/Gillies/Weller

Johnsson/Schultz
Burns/Zidlicky
Scott/Vacant

Backstrom
Vacant

I will continue to provide updated rosters as the Wild sign and trade players.

Written by bcbenzel

April 20, 2009 at 11:37 am