Following a disappointing playoff first-round series knockout at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, Kristen Shilton of ESPN.COM took a look at what the Minnesota Wild will do next. A team that has a lot of strong core players and stars that can keep the team competitive, they also have a massive issue when it comes to their salary cap situation.
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Now that the Wild have been eliminated from the playoffs, GM Bill Geurin will need to go to work, looking closely at his roster and making some important and difficult decisions. The club has roughly 15 percent of his salary-cap payroll dedicated to dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. That alone makes icing a strong roster and giving everyone what they’re worth challenging.
Kevin Fiala Cam Talbot Matt Dumba Wild
Front and center will be what happens with the contract negotiations for Kevin Fiala. Shilton notes that Fiala will be a priority, but he also might have priced himself out of the Wild’s pay range based on an 85-point regular season, a career-best.
From there, the Wild need to focus on finding a reliable backup goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury is not a lock to stay and Cam Talbot has only one year remaining on his current deal. Fleury is slated to become an unrestricted free agent and he could be looking at a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins to finish off his career. If Talbot isn’t far behind and tests free agency the year after, the Wild need someone ready to take a larger role.
Where Can the Wild Find Space?
Shilton believes the Wild might make someone like defenseman Matt Dumba available. His $6 million cap hit coming off the books would be helpful to Guerin, who is going to need every available penny. Dumba is a polarizing player in Minnesota. Some fans love him and others believe he’s not nearly as effective as he should be based on the amount of money he’s making.
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