I am a bit on the tall side but not so tall that its normally not much of an issue in most places I go. However, one place where my height came into play in a negative way was in my old 1-bedroom apartment. The kitchen table light fixture was pretty low and every now and then when I wasn’t thinking about where I was, I’d find myself ducking out of the way at the last possible second from what would’ve been a painful collision. A few times I didn’t quite move fast enough, and the unpleasant surprise struck me in the side of the head. No cuts or blackeyes, I was simply caught off guard a few times. I wonder if the Minnesota Wild are feeling as though they’ve had their own painful surprise as they go $733,591 over the NHL salary cap ceiling when they signed winger Marcus Foligno to a 4-year, $11.5 million deal.
Truth is, the Wild were not surprised by going over the cap ceiling and now will have some more maneuvering to do to be cap compliant. More on that a bit later. Even though the team waited until just prior to the opening of camp to finish this deal, it was hardly a shock to see that he signed since just a few days ago he was personally delivering season tickets to a few lucky Wild fans earlier in the week. The fact the team was willing to go over the ceiling to reach a deal with restricted free agent Foligno demonstrates the want for the club to lockdown the rugged forward who combines some skill with some grit to his game. The Wild acquired Foligno and Tyler Ennis as part of trade of Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville. At just 26 years old, the winger is coming into his prime but some Wild fans are not exactly thrilled at the cap hit or the term they gave him as these tweets suggest.
I can understand why they feel this way. Foligno isn’t a young rookie and is likely going to be a 3rd or 4th liner who is going to be making more than Jason Zucker is this season. Does that make sense to lose all of your remaining cap space to a player who’s best offensive season is a scant 23 points and 13 goals?
Obviously the Minnesota Wild felt it was worth it.
While people feel the team may have overpaid for a Bottom 6 role player, the team obviously valued Foligno greatly to be willing to part with that space to lock him down to a 4-year deal. Let’s face it, the Ennis and Pominville contracts more or less washed each other out in regards to cap space so essentially the ‘deal’ the Wild got for Scandella was Foligno, a player whom they have had their eye on for a while.
In many ways the Wild have long coveted a player similar to Foligno but have never found themselves completely satisfied. Afterall this is why the team traded for Chris Stewart and then brought him back later. Stewart at times brought both toughness and even some offense as he had 13 goals last season, but the team likely felt it needed another big body for that line to do what they wanted it to do. The pressure is on both General Manager Chuck Fletcher who swung the deal and Foligno to deliver.
So how are they going to get cap compliant? There are a few easy outs. Forward Landon Ferraro and defenseman Ryan Murphy who both make $700,000 a season if they stay up with the big club, but they could save that money by simply dispatching both of them to Iowa. Talented youngster Luke Kunin, who shone at Prospect Development Camp is another possibility for an easy way for the club to save a little money as well as give the former college star more quality ice time then if he were to stay with the team in a bottom 6 role.
The Wild also have two seasoned pros on professional tryouts in Daniel Winnik and Ryan Malone. Both players bring size should at the very least help make for some good internal competition. Winnik used to play for Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau when he was with Anaheim, so he’ll fully understand what he expects he will try to pry his way on the Wild roster.
For Malone its a realization that he may have more left as a player after he ‘retired’ in 2015. He’s kept himself in good shape and played and coached a team in DaBeauty League, the Octagon Sports’ Agency’s super successful summer hockey league made up of players who mostly hail from Minnesota or have Minnesota-connections. Yet its still been two full seasons since he’s skated against true NHL competition, so can the former St. Cloud State Huskies’ star show the Wild and other NHL teams he still has game?
The website Left Wing Lock projects the following lines to start the 2017-18 NHL season.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself…