Minnesota Wild Reportedly in the Market for an Aging Big Name ‘Top-6’ Winger

Vladimir Tarasenko, Minnesota Wild rumors
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are preparing for what should be a crazy probably mundane offseason, as they go into their final year dealing with a $15 million cap penalty for buying out the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise contracts a couple a while back.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t have plans. President of hockey operations Bill Guerin is reportedly shopping Marco Rossi, if the price is right, and would like to find a trade partner for Filip Gustavsson, if possible too. And the Wild aren’t walking into this summer’s free agency arcade without any quarters in their pocket.

According to PuckPedia.com, the Minnesota Wild will have just over $6 million to spend this offseason, but that’s before they re-sign, extend and move around money that is already on roster.

Minnesota Wild targeting bargain bin aging wingers in free agency

When their pocketbooks are settled, the Wild will likely have to shop for aging, past their prime scorers. According to Michael Russo (The Athletic), Guerin is looking for a ‘top-6’ winger… if that’s what you want to call them.

Thanks to Minnesota’s cap limitations, they will be stuck shopping in the clearance aisle for guys who used to be worthy of top-6 duties, specifically naming Vladimir Tarasenko (32) and David Perron (36) as the type of washed up veteran winger the Wild “will likely be in the market for”.

If the Wild can add a top-six forward this offseason, it’ll keep Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy from feeling like the scoring load is always on them. The problem is the Wild still have one year of $14.7 million in dead cap money plus at least $425,000 in bonus overage for Marco Rossi (another $212,500 if he makes the all-rookie team June 27), so the lack of cap space means the Wild will likely be in the market for a winger like David Perron or Vladimir Tarasenko on a one- or two-year deal.

Michael Russo on the Minnesota Wild targeting Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron in free agency (The Athletic)

Of course, the Minnesota Wild should be focused on getting younger and faster, as they prepare for when the Parise and Suter penalties fall of before the 2025-26 season. They have a few young, elite prospects like Danila Yurov, Riley Heidt and Liam Ohgren, who will all be close to contributing by then.

Related: Minnesota Wild Nervous that Kirill Kaprizov Will Leave

Their biggest problem is that they are old, slow and stuck with a roster full of veterans that are fat and happy with no-trade clauses in their contracts, thanks to feeble attempts by Guerin to build a win-now roster without any money. Nonetheless, he appears on the verge of doubling down on those aging veterans, at least for one more year.

Should the Minnesota Wild sign Vladimir Tarasenko?

Vladimir Tarasenko, who will play in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night, started this season in Ottawa, before being traded to Florida at the deadline. He has mostly been on their third line this postseason, averaging just over 13 minutes of ice time.

The 32-year-old Russian used to be one of the better scorers in the NHL, but since going for 34 goals and a career high 82 points in 2021-22 (his final full season in St. Louis), he’s dropped off substantially.

Tarasenko potted just 18 goals (50 points) total between St. Louis and New York in 2022-23 and of 23 goals (55 points) this regular season between Ottawa and Florida. He still has some pop left offensively, but he’s a problem for your team on defense.

He’s expected to cost anywhere between $4.5 and $6 million per year, likely toward the higher end, if he is going to sign on a one-year contract. A signing like this would be a massive gamble for Guerin, unless he can somehow get a discount without adding on more years. Yes, he is Russian, but Kirill Kaprizov cares more about winning games than he does playing with his countrymen.

Should the Minnesota Wild sign David Perron?

Meanwhile, Perron is the extreme (but cheaper) version of the veteran wing that Guerin will be in the market for. He was never a prolific point producer, but at 36 years old, he’s shown an incredible consistency, posting 46 or more points in every season since 2016-17, but never more than 66.

That run includes four straight seasons of 56-60 point production between 2019-2023. Perron’s projected salary in 2024-25 is around $2.5 million for next season.

Related: Minnesota Wild Rebranding to North Stars Colors? Not So Fast…

Russo urges Guerin to force Marcus Johansson off of the Wild’s top-6, in favor of someone who can produce and a higher and more consistent rate. Obviously, there is an effort to improve on the power play, which is certainly needed.

Unfortunately… I’m not sure either Vladimir Tarasenko or David Perron are the best answer to solving that problem, along with the others that plague this roster.

Marcus Johansson may be a reasonable cost at $2 million, but the Wild need to stop force-feeding him in a top-six role. He’s an aggravating player because he brings so much speed and skill, but he goes MIA way too often to produce consistently on the second line.

Michael Russo on the Minnesota Wild needing to replace Marcus Johansson in the top-6 (The Athletic)

I know that the Minnesota Wild are in a holding pattern, right now, as they wait for these excessive cap penalties to fall off, but you can’t help but notice that Bill Guerin has built the same type of veteran “clubhouse” atmosphere at Xcel Energy Center that he was once hired to blow up.

The only difference is that he signed, elevated and promoted the leaders of the current clubhouse. But outside of Kirill Kaprizov, I have a lot of doubts about whether or not this organization is that much better off, as we look to the future, than it was prior to Billy G’s arrival.

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