Brief overview of the Minnesota Wild signing Matt Boldy to a seven-year contract extension
On Monday, the Minnesota Wild made a strong commitment to their future when they signed forward Matt Boldy to a seven-year contract extension which carries a cap hit of $7 million per season. This move comes despite the team currently carrying more than $12.7 million in dead cap space on their books.
Background information on Matt Boldy including his career path and current statistics
Matt Boldy, 21, is currently in the final season of his entry-level contract. He is fourth in scoring on the Wild this season, with 12-17-29 in 42 games. A native of Milford, MA., Matt Boldy came up through the U.S. National Team Development Program. After being drafted 12th overall in 2019, he spent two seasons at Boston College before turning pro with the AHL’s Iowa Wild on March 30, 2021.
Discussion of Matt Boldy’s impact on the team since his debut, including his role in the team’s current success
Matt Boldy made his NHL debut just over a year ago, on Jan. 6, 2022. He made an immediate impact, scoring the game-winning goal in Minnesota’s 3-2 road win over the Boston Bruins. He finished his inaugural NHL campaign with 15-24-39 in 47 games, and his 0.83 points per game topped all rookies with more than 10 games played. Despite only having a half-season of games on his resume, he finished eighth in voting for the Calder Trophy for the 2022 rookie of the year.
Explanation of the Wild’s current salary cap issues and how they have affected the team’s roster decisions
This season, the Wild are carrying more than $12.7 million in dead cap space on their books. In July 2021, general manager Bill Guerin decided to buy out the last four years of the twin contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, each with cap hits of more than $7.8 million a year. Teams throughout the NHL are struggling to stay under the league’s hard-cap ceiling, set at $82.5 million this season while the players repay their debt to the owners following the revenue drop caused by the pandemic. After Guerin put himself in an even tougher spot, he seized the opportunity to put a cost-controlled youngster like Matt Boldy into his top six, and his player has thrived.
Analysis of General Manager Bill Guerin’s strategy for navigating the salary cap issues, including his acquisition of cost-controlled players like Matt Boldy and Fleury
The Wild have made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 seasons, but haven’t won a round since 2015. Now in his fourth season at the helm, Guerin hasn’t allowed his cap constraints to prevent him from trying to set up his squad for a meaningful run. Last season, that meant acquiring three-time champion goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at the trade deadline, then signing the now-38-year-old to a two-year contract extension in July. In November, he acquired heart-and-soul tough guy Ryan Reaves in a trade with the New York Rangers.
Despite their financial challenges, the Wild are in a comfortable spot as the NHL regular season passes its midpoint — nestled into third place in the Central Division with a record of 24-14-4 for 52 points in 42 games. They have a cushion of seven points over the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues, and are eight points ahead of the Nashville Predators.
CapFriendly estimates that Minnesota has the cap space to acquire more than $16 million in contracts at the March 3 trade deadline, if Guerin chooses to try to upgrade his squad. And with few contending having significant cap space available, this year could be more of a buyer’s market than usual. Guerin has stated “I think the team will tell me what direction we’re gonna go” and that “if we’re flying high and we’re doing real well, then we’ll talk about making moves and seeing if we can improve, or maybe we’ll just stay the same. I don’t know. If we’re not doing well, then we’ll have to talk about what to do with that.”
It’s clear that the Wild are in a bit of a tricky spot when it comes to salary cap issues. However, it’s also clear that general manager Bill Guerin is not letting this prevent him from setting up his squad for a meaningful run. He’s made some smart moves to acquire cost-controlled players like Matt Boldy and Fleury, and has even managed to maintain a comfortable spot in the standings despite the financial challenges.
Discussion of the Wild’s future prospects, including potential trade deadline moves and the impact of the rising dead-cap burden of the Parise and Suter contracts
One thing is for certain, the next two seasons will see an increase in the dead-cap burden of the Parise and Suter contracts, rising to more than $14.7 million in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons, before dropping to just $1.67 million in subsequent years. This will certainly be a challenge for the Wild to navigate, but Guerin’s track record suggests that he will find a way to make it work.
Overall assessment of the Minnesota Wild’s current situation and potential for success in the future.
Despite the salary cap issues, the Minnesota Wild are showing that they are a team to watch. With a solid team and a general manager who is not afraid to make bold moves, it’s possible that the Wild could make a deep run in the playoffs in the coming years. With the trade deadline approaching, it will be interesting to see if Guerin will make any more moves to try and upgrade his squad, but whatever happens, the Wild are a team that is worth keeping an eye on.
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