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 defenseman Justin Falk.
Number – 44; Height – 6-5; Weight – 215; Hometown – Snowflake, Manitoba; 2011-12 Salary – $605,000. Qualifying Offer – $665,500.
2011-12 Stats – 47 games played, one goal, eight assists, minus-13 rating, 54 penalty minutes (Minnesota Wild).
Strengths: He is a positionally-sound stay-at-home defender. He has very good size and can give a big hit. He skates well for his size and can handle the puck.
Weaknesses: He still needs to develop consistency. Also, he needs to be more physical. He is not going to score a lot of points. Despite handling the puck well, he should do it too much.
Outlook: He definitely should be re-signed. The Wild have seven defensemen under contract, but three of them have less experience than Falk and haven’t done enough to go ahead of him on the depth chart. Falk would be a front runner to earn one of the third pairing spots on the roster. It would be a big mistake to let him leave and sign elsewhere.