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Category: Minnesota-Wild

The Minnesota Wild Need To Take It To The Next Level

from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,

Once a feel-good, second chance for a great hockey market, Minnesota’s NHL team has settled into a maddening inadequacy. It would be easier if they were lousy, but the Wild keep chugging along at their B-minus pace, slightly and painfully above average — never good enough to win in the playoffs, never bad enough to rebuild through the draft.

And, of course, good enough to pack Xcel Energy Center, which has averaged above capacity since 2012.

But patience is growing thin, especially at the top, where frustrated owner Craig Leipold made the strange offseason move to hire new general manager Paul Fenton to tweak the roster his predecessor had been tweaking for years.

Fenton followed the Chuck Fletcher playbook by extending the contracts of another two young “core” players, Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker, and seasoning the broth with a handful of free-agent signings that failed to capture anyone’s imagination. If this team doesn’t deliver a real run, expect big changes, because an increasingly cynical fan base is already worn out, emotionally and financially.

Looking ahead to another 82 games of 3-2 wins, 3-1 losses and another short, first-round playoff loss is to contemplate the eternal pain of Sisyphus, forever pushing boulders up a hill only to start back at the bottom upon completion. It’s almost nauseating.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Same Look Minnesota Wild

from Sarah McLellan of the Star Tribune,

Disappointment and frustration weren’t the only reactions the Wild had after its five-game fizzle against the Jets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Uncertainty was also palpable, especially since the team’s first postseason decision was to part ways with General Manager Chuck Fletcher.

“You almost felt like that was the first domino [to fall], and then there was going to be more and more,” winger Zach Parise said.

But when the team starts training camp Thursday at Xcel Energy Center with fitness testing and medicals, it will look almost the same as the group that slipped up last season — a summer-long development that, while surprising, has emboldened the returning core.

“Everyone likes what we have in that locker room,” said Charlie Coyle, one of the players in summer trade speculation, “so we’re really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Bruce Boudreau’s Reflects On 9/11

from Dan Myers of Wild.com,

In the 6,210 days since that fateful morning, not one has passed where Bruce Boudreau hasn't thought about what might have been.

It was early September in 2001 when Boudreau, then the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire, hopped in a car and drove with one of his best friends, Ace Bailey, to Lake Placid, New York.

The two were among a host of Kings personnel headed upstate to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of Bill Flaherty, at the time, the Kings' Director of Personnel.

While at the wedding, Andy Murray -- then the Kings head coach -- told Boudreau and his staff to change their flights scheduled for the following Tuesday. Instead, Murray wanted them in Los Angeles on Monday for a coaches dinner.

"I was the American League coach at the time," Boudreau said. "So I was going to do whatever Andy Murray wanted me to." 


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

Evening Line- Eric Staal

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

All Zach Parise

from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

ESPN: You and Ryan Suter signed your 13-year contracts in July 2012. Back then, did you believe you would have played for a Stanley Cup with the Wild by 2018?

Parise: I was hoping, yeah. We were going in the right direction, I thought. But in the last two years, we had some very disappointing playoff performances. We made the playoffs right away [in 2012-13]. The next year, we beat Colorado and we had a great series with Chicago. We were two wins away from going to the conference final. And then it's just ... from there, we haven't climbed the ladder.

ESPN: What do you think the window is currently for the Wild to win the Stanley Cup?

Parise: The West is tough. St. Louis is going to be very good. Colorado's going to be really good. Nashville and Winnipeg aren't going anywhere. Dallas is going to be good. Chicago's going to be better. But you've seen so many eight-vs.-one or two-vs.-seven upsets, it's so close. There are five points separating No. 1 and No. 7. We'll see.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zach+parise

A Five-Year Deal For Jason Zucker And The Minnesota Wild

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has agreed to terms with restricted free-agent forward Jason Zucker on a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5 million in 2018-19, $6.25 million in 2019-20, $4.8 million in 2020-21, $6.25 million in 2021-22 and $5.2 million in 2022-23 for a $5.5 million average annual value).

Zucker, 26 (1/16/92), recorded 64 points (33-31=64) and 44 penalty minutes (PIM) in 82 games with Minnesota in 2017-18. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound forward set career highs in games played, goals, assists, points, GWG (7), PPG (7), PIM, shots on goal (222), blocked shots (47), takeaways (54) and TOI/game (16:57). He led the Wild in GWG and takeaways, ranked T-1st in multi-point games (17), second in goals and shots, T-2nd in PPG and third in scoring. Zucker's goal total ranked T-5th in franchise history and T-23rd in the NHL last season. He was named the NHL First Star of the Week on Nov. 13 after scoring six straight team goals for the Wild, one shy of the NHL record, including his first career hat trick on in a 3-0 win at Montreal on Nov. 9.

Zucker was named a finalist for the 2018 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. He and his wife, Carly, began a campaign in 2017-18 to raise funds for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, growing out of the couple's special relationship with the hospital and its patients. In nine months, the #GIVE16 campaign has raised over $1,000,000.

Zucker has tallied 172 points (97-75=172), a plus-33 rating, 124 PIM and 335 hits in 330 career NHL games in parts of seven seasons with the Wild (2011-18). He owns eight points (4-4=8) in 31 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests. Minnesota selected Zucker in the second round (59th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+zucker

Matt Dumba Agrees To A Five-Year Deal With The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of The Athletic,

As​ Sportsnet’s​ Elliotte​ Friedman​ reported​​ in the wee hours of the morning and The Athletic confirmed soon after, the Wild and Dumba will avoid a Monday arbitration date by agreeing to terms on a five-year, $30 million contract. The contract carries a $6 million cap hit and will make the 23-year-old defenseman the Wild’s third-highest paid player next season behind only Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. That would be dependent on restricted free agent Jason Zucker coming in at a lower price following his career-high 33 goals last season.

Last season, Dumba set career-highs in games played (82), goals (14), assists (36), points (50), game-winning goals (four), power-play assists (10), time on ice per game (23:48), shots (176), hits (136) and blocked shots (112). 

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added 9:57am, Minnesota Wild release is below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+dumba

A Look At The Contracts For Zach Parise And Ryan Suter

from Sarah McLellan of the Star Tribune,

At the time of negotiations, there was no stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement that limited the length of contracts. But after the league rejected a whopping 17-year, $102 million deal between Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils in 2010, the NHL and NHL Players Association agreed that the cap hit for any contract longer than five years would be recalculated once a player turned 41 during that deal.

That influenced Suter and Parise, essentially capping them at a 13-year commitment since they’d each be 40 years old in the final season of those contracts.

“There’s a lot of variables that can happen in 13 years,” Wild owner Craig Leipold said. “But that was the risk we were willing to take in order to get those two players.”...

“We also felt that a provision implementing term limits on contracts was a reasonable and responsible ‘allocation tool’ within the overall Cap system,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email, “which hopefully would operate to better ensure that the overall pool of dollars available for Player compensation in any given year was being distributed in a fair and equitable way."


The cap hit for each is a little over $7.5M through the 2024-25 season.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+suter, zach+parise

Paul Fenton Named GM Of The Minnesota Wild

SAINT PAUL -- Minnesota Wild Owner Craig Leipold today announced the hiring of Paul Fenton to a multi-year contract as the team's General Manager and Alternate Governor. He will oversee the Wild's hockey operations department including all matters relating to player personnel, coaching staff, scouting department and minor league operations.

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  Tags: paul+fenton

Morning Line- Craig Leipold

“The expansion to the South and the West has worked, without a doubt. To see Tampa as a tremendous hockey market, to see Nashville, the success with Anaheim, San Jose, and now Las Vegas.

“Revenues are up. TV ratings are better. I think the NHL is in great shape. I mean, Vegas — I’m a little jealous, for sure — but how does it get better for the NHL than what’s happening there?

“You can’t get a ticket for hockey in Vegas. Amazing.’’

-Craig Leipold, owner of the Minnesota Wild.  Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune has more on the Gary Bettman expansion era.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: craig+leipold

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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