NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2022

by | May 13, 2022 | Rumors | 17 comments

A look at the Wild’s offseason priorities and the latest on Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith as he approaches UFA eligibility in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE WILD?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looks at the Minnesota Wild’s keys to the offseason following their first-round postseason elimination by the St. Louis Blues. General manager Bill Guerin goes into the summer with roughly 15 percent of his salary-cap payroll eaten up in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

Contract negotiations with Kevin Fiala will be a priority. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract after a career-high 85-point performance.

Goaltending will also be an issue with Marc-Andre Fleury slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Cam Talbot has one season remaining on his contract but they’re in need of a reliable backup. Guerin must also re-sign RFA defenseman Jacob Middleton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have almost $79 million invested in 23 players for next season, with over $12 million of that going to Parise and Suter.

Fiala enjoyed a terrific performance, providing invaluable scoring punch to their lineup. However, he was held to just three assists in the Wild’s six-game series against the St. Louis Blues and appeared frustrated at times over his lack of production. That could have an effect on contract talks with Guerin.

Coming up with the cap space for Fiala, Middleton, and a new backup will mean shedding some salary via trades. Unless Guerin ships out Fiala and Middleton and goes with cheaper replacements, he might have to peddle Matt Dumba, who’s frequently surfaced in trade rumors over the past two years. Dumba is slated next summer for UFA status and carries a $6 million cap hit for 2022-23.

LATEST ON REILLY SMITH

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reported Reilly Smith could be a hot commodity in this summer’s free-agent market. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA and had 38 points in 56 games this season until sidelined by injury for the final six weeks of the schedule.

Webster stated there was mutual interest between Smith and the Golden Knights on a contract extension. However, the club is already $500K over the $82.5 million cap for next season with only 18 players under contract. They’ll have to decide if trading someone like Evgenii Dadonov, William Karlsson, Laurent Brossoit or even Robin Lehner is worth bringing back Smith.

Smith is completing a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5 million. The Golden Knights won’t go that high but Webster suggested clubs like the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils or Ottawa Senators might be willing to pay that much.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to be interesting to see what the Golden Knights do after missing the playoffs for the first time in their short franchise history. Smith could be allowed to walk away or they could shake things up with some cost-cutting deals that also enable them to bring him back if he’s willing to accept a bit of a pay cut to stay in Vegas.







17 Comments

  1. Fiala will be a very tough negotiation…for anyone! Trade him to NJ, they seem to give up lots of salary and term!

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    • As a Devils fan, I’ll take that!

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    • Fiala or Johnny Hockey to NJD. but how do they get rid of the Bernier contract?

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      • Bernier is only on the books for 1 more season, and he’ll probably spend it on LTIR

  2. Fiala will be overpaid by someone, really good player but he has to have great linemates to shine

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  3. Minnesota is between such a huge rock and a granite-hard place for the next several years when it comes to the cap that, when you look at their roster situation and upcoming free agents (RFAs and UFAs they may wish to retain) it just seems like a drastic situation dictates a drastic approach to a solution.

    I know something of this magnitude will probably never happen … for a variety of reasons … but if there is a remote possibility Guerin should explore it.

    And that is, deal these three players this off-season with targets being high-level prospects projected to be on ELCs for the next 2/3 seasons or one of the Top 3 picks projected to be NHL-ready next season and also cost-controlled for 3 years, or established players still on ELCs for at least 2 more seasons.

    Mats Zuccarello – $6 mil per for 2 more years – turns 35 in September but still productive with 24g 55a 79 pts in 70gp and a +21 – in playoffs this year 1g 3a 4pts in 6 gp and a -1

    Matt Dumba – $6 mil – 1 more year – 7g 20a 27pts in 57gp and a +9 – 1 goal this playoffs and a +4

    Kevin Fiala – coming off a $5 mil cap hit and an RFA with arbitration rights – 33g 52a 85pts and a +23 in 82gp – 3 assists in the playoffs and a -5.

    One way or the other the Wild are not going to win anything of consequence and, in fact, they’re facing a re-build whether they like it or not so they may as well do what they can if and where possible to load up with cost-controlled talent that will bode well for the future.

    “Tinkering” now is a recipe for long-term disaster.

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  4. Pierre Dorion will probably overpay and then over sign Fiala. One good season. He’s not what people think he is

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    • The more I look at it Dark G, the less I see Dorion pursuing Fiala – even though I thought that might have been the case leading up to the trade deadline. And certainly not if the Giroux scuttlebutt comes true.

      That -5 and 0 goals in 6 playoff games for Fiala set off alarm bells.

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  5. Zuccarello has unbelievable chemistry with Kiril. they cannot trade him

    Dumba is built for playoff hockey. If they can move him for two younger players that equal his salary they must

    Guerin moving those two vets made sense for the team as was witnessed with the regular season but i dont envy his job

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    • ds, while that’s true if they keep him what difference will it make over the next two seasons at least as they’re faced with a $12 mil cap shortfall next year and $14 mil + for the few seasons after that?

      Zuccarello’s contract runs out in 2 years anyway when he’ll be 37. As I say, whether they admit or not, Guerin is facing a full-blown re-build all directly related to those buy-outs.

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      • yeah true enough
        smart play is trade Zuc @TDL if Wild are not in it

        If Florida, Toronto, Edmonton loses 1st round they need to add a playoff performer D like Dumba.
        Wild can get make a Dumba trade work for them

  6. Trade Fiala, hold onto dumba and Zuch.

    If there not doing well at the TDL next year dumba will fetch them alot.

    Zuch hold onto no matter what, even resign him if hes healthy because he plays that well KK.

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    • Well, then, I hope Minnesota fans are content with bottoming-out over the next couple of seasons at least – if not 3 or 4 – when they’re faced with a cap that can’t afford Fiala and can’t replace his 33 goals, some of their other RFAs this season and next, and try to convince Dumba to take a home-town discount “for the team.” He’ll be out of there like a shot when he becomes a UFA after next season and if they stubbornly hang onto him they’ll lose him for nothing.

      How do they retain a competitive team when most of the other 31 teams are dealing with full caps for the next 5 seasons while they try an operate with dead hits of $12,743,588 next season, and $14,743,588 for the 2 after that, before dropping to “just” $1,666,666 for the 2 after that?

      While hanging onto Zucharello and trying to accommodate Fiala (who will surely be seeking in the $7 mil range) and Dumba, who’s going to command around $8.5 as a UFA?

      Good luck.

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  7. Sure glad the Wild loaded up on that toughness. Really helped.

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  8. Trade Fiala to Montreal for Jake Evans, 2022 Calgary 1st and 2023 FLA 1st

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  9. When is the Cap adjusted? These playoffs are wildly entertaining so far, and TV ratings are good; the next round’s matchups look equally compelling. ESPN/TBS/DIsney may have upped the ante some for US viewership & interest. Can the potential of a boost two or three years out help, or does cap averaging hit you now no matter what?

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    • The cap is usually adjusted after the playoffs. It is only going to rise by $1 million to $82.5 million because the players are still paying the owners back for their share of hockey-related revenue from 2020. The cap is expected to only increase by $1 million for each season until 2025-26, which is when the players will have fully paid back their HRR overage to the owners. We can expect a significant increase in the cap for ’25-’26.

      Reply

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