The Minnesota Wild had their best-ever regular season with 113 points on 53 wins in 2021-22. It wasn't enough as they lost in the first round for the sixth time in the last six times they've been in the playoffs.
GM and Coach
Bill Guerin was named GM of the Wild in August of 2019 just before the beginning of the 2019-20 season. The team has three straight defeats in the first round under him. He bought out the contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise in July 2021.
Dean Evason was named Interim Head Coach in February of 2020 (took over from Bruce Boudreau) and then Head Coach in July of 2020 after the 2019-20 season. His record in 150 regular-season games is 96-42-12 good for a 0.680 winning percentage (leads active coaches).
The Wild have just over $6.58 million in cap space available to them for the 2022-23 season.
The team has dead cap space of $12.74 million next year and $14.74 million in each of the two seasons after that for buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The final three seasons are at $1.67 million per year.
Just on the dead cap space alone, puts the Wild at a tremendous disadvantage to fill out their roster each season for the next five or six years and keep their young good players under contract. Guerin inherited the contracts from Chuck Fletcher who signed both Suter and Parise to 13-year contracts for a total of $98 million ($7.538 million AAV) in July of 2012. The eight-year contract limit protects GMs from themselves.
For the 2022 entry draft, the Wild traded away their 2nd round and 7th round picks but were awarded a compensatory 2nd round pick for not signing their 2018 1st round pick Filip Johansson. They also have Vancouver's 2nd round pick for a total of seven picks. The compensatory pick in the 2nd round slots in at the 56th pick overall.
They have all of their picks in 2023 and 2024 except for their 3rd round pick in 2023 which was used to acquire Nicolas Deslauriers.
Overall the team has 20 of the original 21 picks over the next three drafts.
Unrestricted free agents are Nick Bjugstad (29), Nicolas Deslauriers (31), Jordie Benn (34), Marc-Andre Fleury (37), Kyle Rau (29) and Jon Lizotte (27).
I think the Wild have the depth to replace Bjugstad, Deslauriers and Benn from within. They might miss the physical presence of all three players, but I don't think the likes of Rossi, Beckman, Dewar or Addison will be a downgrade.
If they can bring back Fleury at under $3 million for one or two years perhaps they do, but the team will need to make some sort of salary move to bring back Fiala.
Restricted free agents are Kevin Fiala (25), Jacob Middleton (26), Mitchell Chaffee (24), Nick Swaney (24) and Dereck Baribeau (23).
Every RFA is eligible for arbitration except for Baribeau.