The Minnesota Wild have 11 unrestricted 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 unrestricted free agent goaltender Josh Harding.
Number – 37; Height – 6-1; Weight – 197; Hometown – Regina, Saskatchewan; 2011-12 Salary – $750,000.
Statistics: 34 games played, 13-12-4 record, 2.62 goals against average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts.
Strength: He is a very athletic goaltender. He moves very well side to side. He can make the spectacular save as well as the routine ones.
Weakness: He has battled injuries and inconsistency. When he is off his game, he is bad.
Outlook: He is worthy of being a No. 1 goaltender, but it may not be with the Wild. The Wild have Niklas Backstrom and Matt Hackett coming back next. Harding’s status with the Wild will be determined by its opinion of the best way to develop Hackett. Backstrom has one year remaining on his contract and Hackett should be ready to take over full time in 2013-14, if he is not already. If the Wild thinks he needs to play almost every day, Hackett will be in Houston again. If the Wild thinks he needs to play against NHL competition, he will be in Minnesota as the backup. If the earlier happens, Harding is very likely to be re-signed as the backup.