The Minnesota Wild have 14 restricted free agents.
Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Mike Yeo have a decision to make on all the free agents.
The Wild currently have 31 players under contract for next season; each team is allowed a maximum of 50.
With the 19 remaining contracts, at least one will be used on drafted players that have expiring rights this summer. Also, there is cap space to try and lure a big name free agent or two to Minnesota.
Here is restricted free agent center Cody Almond.
Number – 27; Height – 6-2; Weight – 199; Hometown – Calgary, Alberta; 2011-12 Salary – $620,000. Qualifying Offer –$682,000.
2011-12 Stats – 10 games, 1 goal, -5 rating and 15 penalty minutes (Minnesota Wild); 46 games, 7 goals, 8 assists, -8 rating, 91 penalty minutes, 1 power play goal and 2 short-handed goal (Houston Aeros).
Strengths: He is a physical, aggressive, grinder-type of player. He has some offensive skill, but mostly in a secondary role. His skill set is best suited to be on a checking line and work on the penalty kill.
Weaknesses: He is not a natural goal scorer and will not be a top six forward. He posted a professional career-high of 34 points in 2010-11, that may be as good as it gets. He should finish most seasons in the 20-30 point range. He has a tendency to take unnecessary penalties.
Outlook: He has two goals in 25 NHL games in small portions of all three of his professional seasons. Because his previous base salary was under $660,000, he requires a 10% increase in salary as a qualifying offer. That is a great contract for the Wild to offer. The Wild should offer the contract with the opportunity to earn a spot on the NHL club’s third or fourth line.