The Minnesota Wild surprised the hockey world on Tuesday by announcing t buying out the contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. With $26.2 million in projected salary-cap space and 14 players signed, there’s speculation they could put some of it to use in the trade and free-agent markets.
Restricted free agent wingers Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala still need to be re-signed. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported Wild general manager Bill Guerin indicated those buyouts doesn’t mean he’ll spend more money will be spent on those two.
Depending on how the expansion draft shakes out, Russo anticipates Guerin will seek affordable replacements for Parise and Suter in the upcoming unrestricted free agent market. Blueline targets could include veterans such as Alec Martinez or Alex Goligoski. A forward option could be Nick Foligno, whose brother Marcus plays for the Wild.
TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the Wild could look to the trade market for a first-line center. He thinks they’ll make an offer to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel but also said Guerin doesn’t want to blow through his cap space or give up too much in return.
Acquiring Eichel, however, will be expensive. It’s rumored the Sabres seek the equivalent of four first-round picks.
Perhaps Eichel’s teammate Sam Reinhart would be a better solution. The 25-year-old center is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. He could welcome a move to a playoff contender after seven frustrating seasons with the moribund Sabres.