UPDATED: JULY 2018
What are the Minnesota Wild 15 best and 15 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? That Zack Parise contract has become one of the worst in the whole NHL and ultimately contributed to Chuck Fletcher being fired. The Ryan Suter contract has produced good value early on, but that could get ugly fast if his body starts slowing down. They've put a lot of hard miles on that guy.
1- Devan Dubnyk, June 27 2015, 6 years $26M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. They locked him in at a good price after 39 solid games in Minnesota with a win-loss record of 27-9. He’s been in the Vezina conversation for the first 2 years of this contract.
2- Mikko Koivu, June 30 2007, 4 years $13M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. Of the 12 seasons that Koivu has played in his career, his 3 highest point totals were under this contract. In 287 GP he scored 242 PTS.
3- Charlie Coyle, Oct 23 2014, 5 years $16M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 35 PTS in 82 GP the season before signing this contract. In year one he jumped up to 42 PTS in 82 GP. In year two climbed further up to 56 PTS in 82 GP.
4- Jered Spurgeon, Dec 21 2015, 4 years $20.7M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He's a 40-point, top pairing, minute eating defenseman in the prime of his career. That's a really good price for what he provides.
5- Eric Staal, July 1 2016, 3 years $10.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. They took a risk on a 31-year-old player coming off a full season with 39 PTS, and it paid off. Staal scored an impressive 65 PTS in year one, which was his highest point total since 2012.
6- Brent Burns, July 8 2006, 2 years $1.7M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. He scored 68 PTS on an inexpensive bridge deal. Year two produced 43 PTS in 82 GP at age 22.
7- Matt Dumba, July 28 2016, 2 years $5.1M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. In 158 GP Dumba scored 84 PTS. His next contract would get significantly larger and may become problematic, but this bridge deal was a nice bargain.
8- Mikael Granlund, July 1 2015, 2 years $6M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. That’s a good price for 113 PTS, including 69 PTS in year two.
9- Nino Niederreiter, Sep 20 2014, 3 years $8M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He got better each season under this contract including 57 PTS in 82 GP in year three. Solid value.
10- Brent Burns, Oct 25 2007, 4 years $14.2M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. 267 GP and 130 PTS. Burns did not elevate into elite status until he was 29 years old, but he was still hovering around the 40-point mark during this contract, which for a defenseman is very good.
11- Jason Zucker, June 29 2016, 2 years $4M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 47 PTS in year one and was an even bigger bargain in year two with 64 PTS.
12- Niklas Backstrom, June 7 2007, 2 years $6.2M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. That’s a great price to pay for 70 Wins, 37 Loses, 2.32 GAA and .921 SV%.
13- Jared Spurgeon, July 5 2013, 3 years $8M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. That’s a good price for a defenseman who produced 80 PTS in 210 GP while averaging over 22 minutes of ice time per game.
14- Kyle Brodziak, July 23 2009, 3 years $3.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. In his 12-year career, his 3 best seasons all came under this contract totalling 113 PTS in 244 GP. Scroll down to see his next contract though…
15- Mikael Granlund, Aug 1 2017, 3 years $17.2M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. In year one he scored 67 PTS in 77 GP with 2 years remaining in what should be his prime years of point production.
1- Zach Parise, July 4 2012, 13 years $98M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s now 34 years old with 7 years remaining and has seen his production decline each season since turning 30. Every year he gets older, this contract looks worse and worse. The team can expect a massive cap recapture penalty at the end of this contract, unless they find a cheap excuse to put him on Long-Term Injured Reserve and avoid the penalty. After the Hossa shenanigans, I’m not sure these “future cap recapture penalty” contracts belong on worst contracts lists anymore. Bowman found a loophole.
2- Ryan Suter, July 4 2012, 13 years $98M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s currently 33 years old but we have yet to see any age-related production decline. In fact, he scored a career high 51 PTS at age 30. Through the first 6 seasons this has not been a bad contract. It’s on this list because he’s got 7 years left over-30. He’ll probably retire before it expires, at which time Minnesota will get hit with a massive cap recapture penalty. Granted they’ll probably find a stupid excuse to put him on LTIR and avoid the penalty, in which case this contract maybe shouldn’t even be on this list…
3- Martin Havlat, July 1 2009, 6 years $30M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He was good for the first 2 seasons under this contract, then hit a wall at age 30 and was eventually bought out.
4- Jason Pominville, Oct 3 2013, 5 years $28M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s been decent, but they didn’t pay for decent. These are the pitfalls of giving a 5-year contract to a 31-year-old player. He scored 54 PTS in year one and declined down to 34 PTS in year four.
5- Thomas Vanek, July 1 2014, 3 years $19.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 41 PTS in 74 GP in year two at age 31 before being bought out.
6- Mark Parrish, July 1 2006, 5 years $13.3M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. He played 2 seasons with mediocre production before being bought out.
7- Niklas Backstrom, June 24 2013, 3 years $10.2M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. This was not a smart contract. In 3 seasons he played just 44 games with 12 Wins, a 3.06 GAA and .893 SV%.
8- Nick Schultz, Feb 23 2008, 6 years $21M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. This was even more expensive when accounting for the smaller cap in 2008. Schultz did not provide much offensive upside and was -54 over the duration of this deal. His next contract would be for a fraction of this price.
9- Matt Cooke, July 5 2013, 3 years $7.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 38 PTS in 111 GP before being bought out after year two at age 36.
10- Manny Fernandez, Mar 3 2006, 3 years $13M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. They paid him like a #1 starter and he played like a below average back-up with a 2.65 GAA and .907 SV%.
11- Kyle Brodziak, Feb 19 2012, 3 years $8.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. The Wild more than doubled Brodziak’s salary from his previous contract and were rewarded with about half as much production. That’s a bit pricey for 56 PTS in 202 GP.
12- Keith Ballard, July 5 2013, 2 years $3M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He averaged around 13m per game of ice and played just 59 games over 2 seasons. His NHL career should have ended before signing this contract. He had little left to offer at this point.
13- Marcus Foligno, Sep 14 2017, 4 years $11.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. The decision to trade Scandella for Foligno and Ennis was a headscratcher. Well they doubled down on the bad decisions by signing Foligno to this contract shortly after. In year one he averaged under 11 minutes of ice time per game while putting up just 23 PTS. He also missed a few games as a healthy scratch.
14- Darroll Powe, July 5 2011, 3 years $3.2M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 13 PTS in 125 GP before finishing this contract in the minors.
15- Kim Johnsson, July 1 2006, 4 years $19.4M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. This contract would have been like $8.7M AAV if adjusted for a $79M cap. He was a useful player at the right price, but that price was wrong.