Free Agency Is Here

The problem with free agency starting at 11:00 a.m. central is that nobody can get any work done if they keep punching “refresh” on the Wild.com free agency tracker for the latest news on who their favorite team has signed (actually I’m told you don’t have to hit refresh because the page updates every 60 seconds!). That’s why you need a job like mine, where you are required to spend all day on the Internets to see what’s the haps? As Ferris Bueller might say, “It is so choice. I highly recommend it.”

Unfortunately, we are less than an hour in and the Wild have already lost out on the Marty Biron sweepstakes. He went to the Rangers and immediately transformed them into a Cup contender. We will have to make due with Nik Backstrom, the franchise’s all-time leader in wins.

Now, I can’t speculate on who the Wild will or will not sign. You’ll have to read the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo for that. He’s got the 411. What I can say (and Russo said this on his latest blog) is that fans should remain patient, and not swerve off the Wakota bridge if hours or days pass and the Wild don’t sign anyone, or they hear a player they want signed with another team. By the way, Zbynek Michalek (to Pittsburgh) and Sergei Gonchar (away from Pittsburgh) are both off the market.

It would be great if the Wild signed Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt Lombardi, Dan Hamhuis and every single Minnesota native available. But that requires some extreme mathematical genius. Chuck Fletcher did go to Harvard, so who knows? Maybe he can figure out how to get it done, but let’s just wait and see and not panic if it doesn’t happen.

Here’s my problem with free agency. Why July 1? Does it really have to start a day before the July 4 weekend kicks off? Who decides this? What would the problem be if they decided to start it on July 12?

Not only are people in the lower 48 dancing on boats and lighting fireworks, but you’re also competing for media attention during the LeBron, D-Wade, Boshy and Darko feeding frenzy. I just worry that the Wild might sign or trade for a very good player, but it will be overshadowed by news of the Timberwolves landing LeBron. Wild.com will get about two clicks that day (by me and hopefully the player we get).

Now, I don’t expect many people to pay attention to a lowly website punk, but if you’ll recall a couple months back, I completely solved the NHL’s realignment issue and I’m just waiting for the call from Mr. Bettman to thank me.

In actuality, my real problem is the very real possibility that I’ll be pulled away from a game of bean bag toss along the shores of Gull Lake to write a story for the site about a signing. Back in 2006, I spent a Saturday night working in my office as the Wild signed Keith Carney, Mark Parrish and Kim Johnsson within a few hours. PR guru Aaron Sickman and I were forced to watch Taste of Minnesota fireworks from the window in our office. It was actually quite nice. I hope he feels the same way.

So if you’re at the Caribou Coffee in Brainerd this weekend, and you see a severely sunburned dude working on his laptop, that’s me! And the Wild probably just signed somebody.

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10 responses to “Free Agency Is Here

  1. Thanks for all the great articles man. What kind of cap space do the Wild have left? I know we’ve got some steady blue liners already, but Paul Martin would be a sick acquisition. Still, I’m betting we ink a couple wingers if anything; we’re starting to look better up the middle with Koivu, Granlund, and a healthy Bouchard. My guess is a Right winger with “Grit” =)

  2. This season is going to be a snoozer for the Wild, so they may as well snag Modano and Koivu for cheap and give the fans something to look forward to.

    Sure it’s not solving our long term problems, but it gives the fans something to be excited about for at least a season.

  3. Thanks Nick. Martin is out, as he’s signed with Pittsburgh. Still a lot of players out there and I know the hockey ops crew (including coaches) is hunkered down in their office.

    Kevin, there is no doubt that Modano would generate fan interest…maybe even ticket sales. But I just don’t see the Wild tying up money in a player nearing retirement.

    Plus, Modano hasn’t shown any indication that he even wants to come here.

  4. So, Boogaard is no longer a Wild man. At the price he went for, I’m glad he isn’t. I’ll still miss that big oaf, though. Best of luck to him!

  5. I have to say it seems like the Wild need more goal scoring, I feel like they aren’t considering that as they drafted what looks like a Finnish playmaker in the first round. I’m also comfused as to why the Wild were trying to get Biron, Backstrom has been a madman for this team, he just needs some offensive help. I think the obvious free agent that the Wild should be looking at is Kovalchuk. With that said, I’m really excited they signed Latendresse, who was a breath of fresh air last season when Havlet wasn’t putting up the numbers everyone thought he would. Sadly, as far as Modano goes, I agree that wouldn’t do any good other than ticket sales, the Wild have a pretty good team when their healthy, for me everything boils down to more offense from this team if they plan to move on to the playoffs next year.

  6. Sorry Brendan, the Biron reference was sarcasm due to Biron signing one minute into free agency. They worked on that deal quickly, eh?

    Considering that the Wild just signed Cullen and Nystrom, I don’t think there is anywhere near enough cap room to sign Kovi.

  7. Do you think that Cullen and Nystrom will be able to bring the goal count up enough for the Wild to make an attempt for the playoffs?

    Is there anywhere that an average fan, such as myself, can find more detailed information like salary cap and contract information?

  8. Brendon, yes I do, and here’s why. Last year, Guillaume Latendresse and Martin Havlat started putting up big numbers when they started playing together. That was mostly with Andrew Ebbett or Kyle Brodziak playing between them. Now, you add a more offensive threat in Cullen, and that whole line should thrive. Nystrom probably won’t do much to up the offensive numbers, but he provides much-needed energy. The Wild hopes Pierre-Marc Bouchard can also help the scoring rise significantly.

    As for cap information, try visiting nhlnumbers.com. That’s your best bet for those kinds of figures.

  9. I am very excited to see Bouchard back, it was a long season without him.

    Thanks for telling me about nhlnumbers.com, that is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

  10. Another good site for cap space, etc. is http://www.capgeek.com, and for general hockey info, check out http://www.hockey-reference.com/

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