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As teams get knocked out of the playoffs, I start looking at them as trade partners and their sense of desperation to improve year over year and what that means in relation to the habs as a potential trading partner

The Wild's cap situation is one of the worst in the league even though they extended GM Guerin for a lot more years. Using cap friendly, their current 23 man roster as currently constructed has cap room of $3.419M. Here are the key highlights;

1) Goaltending - subtract highly regarded 2021 - 20th overall Jesper Wallstedt at $925K from their roster as he is waivers eligible, would increase their cap room to $4.344M. But the Wild face a bridge extension with Filip Gustavsson who had a career year and out performed incumbent Fleury. Reports suggest his bridge deal could consume $3.5M cap room which leaves very little for any roster improvements. Fleury has one more year on a full NMC. 

2) Their defense loses RHD Matt Dumba soon to be 29 and Jon Klingberg soon to be 31 to free agency. Both had seasons which were on the decline, and did not come close to their $6M and $7M contracts with NTC clauses. Both I would think would be looking for term in free agency. Although the Canadiens are somewhat weak at RHD - 2 more years of Savard, then Barron and Kovacevic and maybe Guhle/ Harris in a pinch while we wait for Mailloux and some future prospect to mature, it's a hard pass for me on any term commitment to these guys beyond 2 years and AAV of $4M. 

3) The Wild have to rely on improvement from some of their entry level players - IMO Sam Steel as an RFA won't get much more beyond $1.2M (virtually the bury amount in the AHL), and will be a bottom 6 player. At center the Wild are solid with Eriksson Ek, Ryan Hartman, Frederik Gaudreau, Marco Rossi / Steel. Their top 5 wingers Kaprizov, Boldy, Zuccarello, a disappointing down year for Foligno - $3.1M suggests trading block and one of the 5 centres - This team has a big need to improve their bottom 4 wingers and even 1 from their 2nd line. They have a number of young players making the league minimum who can probably be moved to the AHL. Guerin will probably be looking for low cost waiver wire players after next year's training camp roster cuts 

4) At defense - their top 4 are probably set with Brodin (LHD) Spurgeon (RHD) (on 5 year and 4 years remaining in contracts), Middleton (LHD) Journeyman Goligoski (Both) under contract. Calen Addison (RHD) will get some bridge contract that could take up a small piece of their cap room, but he did not even play in the playoffs. Might be a stretch for RHD Brock Faber (NCAA grad - 45th overall 2020) to make the roster. They have filler in Jon Merrill or rookies LHD Damon Hunt  or stretches of LHD Carson Lambos (WHL - good so far with winnipeg Ice) or LHD David Spacek (Sherbrooke Phoenix), at minimum salaries to make their roster. Like most teams their bottom pairing is on the weak or developmental status. 

Trade pieces - The Wild have their 1st round pick #22. They also have LW Liam Ohgren 19th overall 2022 draft who the habs in earlier posts were purported to have liked. 

I suspect any trade to the Minny Wild will have to take one of their under performing contracts such as Marcus Foligno - $3.1M - 1 more year, so what could be extracted - their 2nd round pick #54 or 2nd round #60 vs. giving up a 3rd round or 4th round pick or cheap winger prospect? Could Gustavsson be on the trade block on a sign and trade deal as Wallstedt is likely a goalie of the future. Without much cap room, the Wild are have to hunt for cheap contract deals even 50% retained ones. This should rule them out of Hoffman, Armia, Edmundson deals unless there is some immense creativity. They may even have to go with a 22 or 21 man roster for 2023-24.


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