Kukla's Korner Hockey
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed goaltender Devan Dubnyk (pronounced DOOB-nihk) to a six-year contract through the 2020-21 season.
Dubnyk, 29, went 36-14-4 in 58 games during the 2014-15 season and ranked second in the NHL with both a 2.07 goals-against average (GAA) and .929 save percentage (SV%), T-4th with six shutouts and T-6th in wins. He won the 2015 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, was named to the NHL's Second All-Star Team, and finished third in the Vezina Trophy voting and fourth in the Hart Trophy voting. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound native of Regina, Sask., set single-season career highs in GAA, SV%, games played, consecutive starts (39), wins, shutouts, minutes, assists (2), shots faced (1,625) and saves (1,510).
via the Minnesota Wild,
The Minnesota Wild has re-signed center Mikael Granlund to a two-year contract.
Granlund, 23, collected 39 points (8-31=39), a plus-17 rating and averaged 17:54 in TOI/game in 68 games with Minnesota in 2014-15. He ranked third on the team in plus/minus and fifth in scoring and set career highs in games played, plus/minus, hits, faceoffs taken and faceoffs won and TOI/game. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound native of Oulu, Finland, added six points (2-4=6) and a plus-2 rating in 10 playoff contests. Granlund has tallied 88 points (18-70=88) in 158 NHL games during three seasons with Minnesota and owns 13 points (6-7=13) in 23 playoffs matches.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
I'm told they're not far off money-wise. Wild has gotten up to the low $4 million range. Dubnyk is willing to come into the high 4s.
I do think term is the biggest issue. Dubnyk is asking for bigtime security (many years, maybe the max eight, I hear) and the Wild likely doesn't want to go more than four years and probably prefers three.
We'll see if Dubnyk budges.
A lot of that could depend on what he's hearing from teams like San Jose, which has shown interest during the free-agent shopping period along with one other team. A lot could depend today where Cam Talbot is traded to because that could get the ball rolling in terms of other goalie trades like Eddie Lack, Robin Lehner, Martin Jones and Antti Raanta.
Dallas could have interest, too, in Dubnyk, although the Stars still have Kari Lehtonen at three years left with a $5.9 million cap hit. Like I inferred above, I'm not 100 percent sure of the other team I heard showed interest in Dubnyk yesterday.
I hear Buffalo has been offering its 31st pick in deals for one of the goalies, by the way.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN (formerly of the Philadelphia Daily News),
So far, little progress has been made between the Wild and Dubnyk's agent, Mike Liut, on keeping him in Minnesota. Dubnyk met with Fletcher briefly here on Tuesday morning, but numbers were not discussed. Dubnyk reiterated his interest in remaining with the Wild.
Liut and Fletcher are expected to meet again on Wednesday in South Florida to negotiate. The NHL and NHLPA announced next season's hard salary cap ceiling of $71.4 million on Tuesday, at least providing some form of clarity on Fletcher's flexibility.
According to GeneralFanager.com, Minnesota has approximately $12 million in salary cap space, with more than $4.6 million committed to goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper.
Dubnyk is reportedly seeking a long-term deal with an average annual value north of $5 million per season.
It is a complicated negotiation. Dubnyk knows perhaps better than anyone - based on what he experienced last season - the volatility of the goaltending position. He wants to maximize his earnings in a limited window, but is also comfortable in Minnesota. There are only three or four other teams looking for a starting goaltender, limiting his leverage.
"It's difficult because it becomes the business side of it," Dubnyk said. "I had the most fun playing hockey I ever had in my career. The fans are great, the city's great, the guys are great. Everything was awesome.
"I almost had it completely go away last year. You weigh both sides. You're standing in a good situation - as long as it's fair. It has to be fair."
from Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press,
In an attempt to decrease the considerable distance between the two sides negotiating a contract, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher and goalie Devan Dubnyk are set to informally meet face-to-face in Las Vegas on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Dubnyk will be in Vegas to attend the NHL Awards as a nominee in two categories, the Vezina Trophy given to the league's top goalie and the Masterton Award given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance. Fletcher will be there for league meetings.
Afterward, Fletcher will head to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and meet with Dubnyk's agent, Mike Liut, Wednesday night or Thursday. Those two haven't come close to completing a new contract for the goaltender who helped lift the Wild out of a midseason tailspin and into the playoffs.
Since a meeting in Buffalo, N.Y., at the beginning of the month, little headway has been made on a new contract for Dubnyk, who otherwise is set to become a (un)restricted free agent on July 1.
"I'm still hopeful we'll get a deal done," Fletcher said. "He's certainly a guy we'd like to sign, and it's certainly our priority to re-sign him. And yet we're cognizant that ultimately he holds the cards. We'll do the best we can within those parameters."
via Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild, looking to clear cap space this offseason, has placed veteran Matt Cooke on waivers. If he clears, the next route would be a buyout.
Cooke, 36, who had an injury-ravaged season and was limited to only 29 regular-season games and seven playoff games, has one more year left on his contract at a $2.5 million cap hit with a $3 million salary.
I'm expecting to talk to his agent soon. GM Chuck Fletcher couldn't be reached for comment.
As I reported last week on my podcast with Jim Souhan, Cooke was being shopped heading into draft week.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
For months, it has been presumed that the Wild would buy out the final year of veteran Niklas Backstrom’s contract this month. Hampered by injuries the past five years, the 37-year-old struggled this past season, particularly after Darcy Kuemper was injured in January. It was Backstrom’s final start of the season Jan. 13 at Pittsburgh — a 7-2 loss — that precipitated the Jan. 14 trade for Devan Dubnyk.
Well, as it turns out, the Wild might not be permitted to buy out Backstrom. General Manager Chuck Fletcher confirmed Sunday that Backstrom underwent elbow surgery after the season.
“He had a procedure done at the end of the season to clean up a problem that happened earlier in the year,” Fletcher said. “I honestly don’t know the full prognosis at this point, but it’s not a long-term thing and we’re hoping that he’ll be good to go in short order and healthy.”
Injured players cannot be bought out unless cleared by team physicians. Last June, the Wild couldn’t use its last of two compliance buyouts on Backstrom because he wasn’t cleared from season-ending abdominal and hip surgeries.
The NHL buyout period begins June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final (whichever is later) until June 30. It’s believed that Backstrom, who has returned to Finland, has yet to be cleared and might not be by June 30.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
I got some Twitter questions asking if Andrew Hammond’s three-year, $4 million contract with Ottawa establishes the market. Simple answer: Not at all. Hammond has played 24 NHL games. Dubnyk has played 231 and has been a No. 1 in Edmonton and Minnesota.
The Wild will not be offering Dubnyk $1.3 million per year. The market for Dubnyk is basically whatever another team will pay him as a free agent (couple that with the fact there’s no obvious answer for the Wild if Dubnyk leaves).
Now, maybe Dubnyk takes less to stay in a place where he was a solid fit, but this was a $3.75 million goalie in Edmonton. For the Wild to sign him, the deal will obviously average well north of $3 million per.
The final figure will depend on term. Give him three years, the average salary/cap hit is probably more. Give him four or five years, and the Wild can probably get the average salary/cap hit to a more comfortable number. Two years makes little sense to me. 1) Why would he take two years? 2) Two years basically means you have to talk to him about an extension next summer if he has a big year.
As I mentioned recently, the biggest concern is that free-agent interview period in late June. I’d think the Wild would want to avoid it getting to the point where Dubnyk says, “Let me see what else is out there, and I’ll circle back to ya.”
more on Dubnyk and the Wild...
from Michael Rand of the Star Tribune,
Sometimes philosophy is shaped by options. I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on with the Wild as it prepares for an important offseason, but it could be at least part of why I got the sense from listening to GM Chuck Fletcher and head coach Mike Yeo field questions Monday that there will be no dramatic changes for the Wild.
Fletcher spoke at length about internal improvement. When asked how to beat Chicago as the years go on, one of the solutions he offered came from the team’s youth: that by his count 10 players the Wild dressed in Game 4 were 25 or younger, while the Blackhawks had just four such players.
Fletcher insisted that Chicago, “didn’t beat our A game,” which is fair enough. He also said the Wild’s goal “is to be consistently good.”
Mission accomplished, but back to that original point: is that a true philosophy or a philosophy that springs from the options the Wild has (or doesn’t have)? Even if Fletcher was inclined to make a major roster shakeup in an attempt to inject more (or a different kind of) talent to the team, could he really do it?
Minnesota will be pressed up against the salary cap, locked in by the big-money players it has already signed and the impending free agents of its own that it wants to sign (Devan Dubnyk, at the top of that list, reiterated Monday that he wants to be here and it sounds from Fletcher like the feeling is mutual, so expect that to be a smooth negotiation and for Dubnyk to be back).
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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