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Category: Minnesota-Wild

Devan Dubnyk Looking For A Fair Deal From The Minnesota Wild

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."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: devan+dubnyk

The Minnesota Wild Still Trying To Sign Devan Dubnyk

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."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: devan+dubnyk

The Buyout Process Begins For Matt Cooke

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.

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

Injury To Niklas Backstrom May Prevent The Minnesota Wild From Buyout Option

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.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: niklas+backstrom

What To Pay Devan Dubnyk?

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...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: devan+dubnyk

Don’t Expect Big Changes In Minnesota

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).

continued

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

Nothing Has Changed For The Minnesota Wild

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

“Bottom line is until we … prove that something’s different, then nothing’s changed.” — Wild coach Mike Yeo before Game 1 against Chicago.

Nothing changed. In fact, it got worse.

After an NHL-best second half and knocking off the St. Louis Blues in the first round, the Wild truly believed that with stable goaltending, more scoring punch, better balance up and down its lineup and further maturity from its young core that this would be the year to slay the Chicago dragon.

Four playoff games and six days later, the Wild learned it’s not close to overtaking the Blackhawks, who ended Minnesota’s season for a third consecutive year.

That harsh reality had to be an eye-opener for Wild brass heading into the offseason. After a period of decompression and evaluation, it’ll take an honest appraisal by General Manager Chuck Fletcher, who is expected to address the media this week, and his staff about what went wrong and how to fix it.

The problem seems obvious: The Wild still doesn’t possess that pure goal scorer and clutch playoff performer.

continued

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

It’s Over In Minnesota

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

“Bottom line is until we … prove that something’s different, then nothing’s changed.” – Wild coach Mike Yeo prior to Game 1.

Nothing changed. In fact, it got worse.

A year after many in NHL circles felt the Wild very easily could have beaten the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference semifinals, the Wild was eliminated for a third consecutive season Thursday night by the mighty Hawks in a sweep.

The Wild’s stellar second half and first-round elimination of the Central Division champion Blues was long forgotten in the aftermath of a disappointed, dejected locker room Thursday night after the Wild fell, 4-3.

Bottom line about this series: The Wild just wasn’t good enough and better take an honest appraisal this offseason of what it has to do to beat the Hawks, who will go to their fifth conference final in seven years against the winner of the Anaheim-Calgary series. The Hawks are going nowhere and in the new playoff format, it’s likely the Wild faces Chicago in the first or second round every year.

The Blackhawks have finishers. The Wild does not.

continued

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

Talent An Issue For The Minnesota Wild

from Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune,

The Wild felt quietly confident about its chances this series. Instead, Act III has been more of the same, more of the Blackhawks imposing their will on a team that can’t take that next step without first clearing this enormous hurdle.

And here’s something sobering for the organization as it ponders how to conquer the Hawks:

Jonathan Toews just turned 27 years old.

Patrick Kane is 26.

Brandon Saad is 22.

Teuvo Teravainen is only 20.

In other words, the Hawks aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

The Wild counters with Thomas Vanek, who skates as if he’s 45.

more

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

The Minnesota Wild Must Now Win Four In A Row

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

“Obviously, we know what we’re up against right now,” coach Mike Yeo said after tonight’s 1-0 loss to the Blackhawks.

“Disappointed because we put what, in a lot of ways, we needed to in this game. We fell a little bit short but I thought our guys did a lot of good things. We didn’t get the result that I think we deserved tonight.

“We know what we’re up against, so I’m not going to get up here right now and give a big rah-rah speech. We’ve got to win a game. It’s as simple as that. In all honestly, I’ve never been here before. It’s kind of unfamiliar territory. I guess what you do is try to draw upon previous experiences even though it’s not the same. The only thing I can say is we came back from the dead once before this season, and the only way we did that was with character and belief. That’s what we need right now. The other part of that equation, the reason why we were able to make the playoffs when we weren’t supposed make the playoffs is we were able to look at it one game at a time and that’s obviously what we have to do here, too.”

The Wild has been down 0-3 twice before and swept in one of those. The Blackhawks have been up 3-0 once in the Kane-Toews era and swept the Sharks in that 2010 series.

How do the Wild brush away the frustration and the dejection and all the negative thoughts?

“That’s what we’ll ponder tonight and get ready for [Wednesday],” Yeo said. “I know there’s a lot of character in this room. We’re up against something very tough. It’s not like we’re [down] 3-0 against not a very good hockey team and I know what to expect from them, but like I said, two things, character and belief. There will be no feeling sorry for ourselves. Obviously we’re disappointed to be in this spot, but we’ve got to find a way.”

more

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

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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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