I received a few questions about the Minnesota Wild through Twitter and Facebook. I will answer those questions in this article.
Will Zach Parise be in a Wild uniform?
If I had to guess, I would say not this season, but yes to next season. I don’t think Chuck Fletcher is willing to trade the prospects and/or draft picks it will take.
Also, the New Jersey Devils are set the bar pretty high to acquire the former Shattuck-St. Mary’s star. They are currently in eighth in the Eastern Conference and are just five points out of fifth place.
The Devils are not going to just give him away while they are in the playoff chase. He has more value to the Devils if it can make the playoffs, than for a marginal prospect.
What are the real Wild, the team that was leading the NHL in early December or the one that couldn’t win over last month?
I think a combination of the two. The Wild were getting a lot of breaks while ascending to the top of the league. Those breaks starting bouncing the other way and it seemed like the team panicked a bit that led to the free fall.
By the end of the season, I think the Wild will be sixth, seventh or eighth in the Western Conference.
Are we going to see Mikael Granlund next season?
I think so. There are four reasons to think that way.
The Wild has to sign him or lose him. Signing him does not mean he definitely will be in North America, let alone with the Wild, but it does mean he will be with the Wild at some point.
Granlund likes the Wild and wants to be here. He has been to the Twin Cities and the Xcel Energy Center several times, including last June’s draft and development camp in July and there should be a roster spot for him on the first or second line.
Granlund’s hockey idol is Mikko Koivu. He looks up to the Wild’s captain could possibly play on a line with him next season.
Declining to sign would not get Granlund a better contract. The Wild will offer him the maximum rookie salary and bonus. If Granlund declines, he would re-enter the draft and could end up with one of the hockey wastelands (Columbus, Long Island, Raleigh, Tampa or Phoenix). In addition, to playing in front of nearly no one, the contract he receives would be the same.
The deadline to sign him is June 1. But, per rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, European amateurs (which include Granlund) cannot be signed until after March 1, unless they participate in world championships – if that were to happen it can’t be until after the tournament. It can be confusing, but the bottom line is he cannot be signed until March or May.