Three moves Minnesota Wild should consider doing this year

When Minnesota General Manager Wild Bill Guerin pulled the trigger over the divorce from the contracts of Zach Barris and Ryan Sutter last summer, he unofficially announced that Wild was headed toward rebuilding.

Why rebuild?

Minnesota earned a cap of $12 million in 2022, and $15 million for both seasons 23 and 24. The decision to buy Parise was an easy one given his deteriorating performance (averaging only 13:57 minutes per game), and the behind-the-scenes controversy. With the management of Wild (there’s no secret that Parise spoiled his welcome).

As a fan, this hurts, but with any divorce, it’s best to think with your head and not your heart. That’s what Guerin did.

Sutter’s purchase did not make sense.

From an ice perspective, Sutter scored 19 points (3-16 = 19) in 56 regular season games, averaged an ice time of 22:11 per game, and finished with a +9 plus/minus rating. Sutter is not signed to lead the league in scoring. He was signed to lead the league in icy time and shut down the opposing team’s best streaks.

Why would you break ties with a strong man of defense and still be on his payroll and have to find and pay his replacement? Sutter considered it “insoluble”. Giran had had enough and decided to say “Take what you want, we’re divorced.”

He’s opted for a fresh start and a higher salary cap because of Sutter’s presence in the locker room and has the ability to re-sign with the next free agents. With that, we say goodbye to the other half of the greatest July 4th in Minnesota sports history. Just like that, both lifeguards are gone, and a new leadership group is assigned to the locker room.

Wild actually saved money this season, and they later managed to keep the new face of the franchise, Kirill Kaprizov (5 years – $45 million), however, the state of hockey is now facing an emergency.

Linked to hat-tricks from Parise and Suter, Wild is in real trouble next season.

Can the unproven talent that has seemed serviceable so far (Conor Dewar, Brandon Doehmy, and emerging superstar Matthew Baldy) push the team forward? Or does Wild need to make more roster moves in order to hold onto the big-ticket names that may not have existed in the past this season?

Time will tell.

The Wild has approximately $3.3 million in cover space next season to re-sign current stars Kevin Fiala and Kabo Kahkkonen, and roster upgrades are required.

No team in NHL history has won the Stanley Cup without a #1 position and strong goalkeepers. Wild owns one of the two and going forward would need creativity if they were to seriously take a ride bringing the Stanley Cup Parade down West Kellogg Boulevard.

Here are three unpopular moves on the list that can help Wild escape salary hell, vie for the trophy, and avoid wasting the best years of Kaprizov’s career.

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