Minnesota Wild Contract Extensions Won’t Stop with Mats Zuccarello

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The Minnesota Wild extended the contract of Mats Zuccarello on Friday, to the tune of 2-years, $8.25 million ($4.125 million/year). Zuccarello is 36-years-old and his contract was going into its last year. In 2022-23, Zuccy recorded 67 points (45 assists, 22 goals) and clocked a career high in average TOI (20:12) .

When a team leader, not to mention Kirill Kaprizov’s beloved linemate and best friend is willing to take a veteran pay cut (down $2 million from his previous deal), it’s probably smart to shake hands and say thank you, which is what Bill Guerin did.

Both years on Mats’ deal are protected by a full no-trade clause but the contract won’t kick in until 2024-25. In 2023-24, he will still make the $6+ million his current contract calls for.

Bill Guerin isn’t done, after Mats Zuccarello extension

The Athletic reported it earlier in the week but Bill Guerin went on the record with Michael Russo on Friday, telling the celebrated NHL scribe that the Wild are deep in negotiations with both Ryan Hartman and Marcus Foligno on contract extensions of their own.

UPDATE [9-29-23 | 5 PM CDT] : Wild Sign Marcus Foligno to Contract Extension

Guerin confirmed what The Athletic reported Monday, that in addition to Zuccarello, the team has also begun contract talks with both veterans, who are in the final years of their contracts. Guerin values both players wholeheartedly and both players want to stay. Foligno may be the top priority in Guerin’s mind, and Foligno made clear to The Athletic last week that he’d like to stay in Minnesota long-term. Foligno is in the final year of a contract with a $3.1 million AAV, while Hartman is in the final year of a bargain $1.7 million a year deal.

Michael RussoThe Athletic

No cap savings for Wild in 2023-24?

Guerin was so determined to keep his options open, as these cap-strapped seasons went by, that I’m slightly surprised he is ready to hand out veteran extensions this week like they’re going out of style. Obviously, the Wild desperately need more cap space (they currently have $43,000 in space) this season so a cap-saving extension would have made sense.

Related: Bill Guerin Promoted to President of Hockey Operations for Minnesota Wild

But it doesn’t appear as if Zuccarello’s new deal saves them any money now. It saves them $2 million per year in the future but he’s playing under the same $6+ million AAV this season. It’s worth asking yourself whether or not a 37-year-old Mats Zuccarello was going to be worth more than $4 million per year, on the open market next offseason, anyway…

We’ll see what the extensions of Hartman and Foligno look like before jumping to too many conclusions.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan