As expected, the Minnesota Wild have said they will not make a $2.5 million qualifying offer to left winger Guillaume Latendresse prior to Monday’s deadline, making Latendresse eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has suggested the team would like to re-sign Latendresse, but certainly at a lower price than $2.5 million given that he played just 27 games over the last two seasons while dealing with concussion, groin, abdominal and hip issues. That injury history stands to limit the number of teams interested in Latendresse on the free agent market, perhaps allowing the Wild to make an offer that suits them in terms of cost and would appeal to Latendresse and his agent.
Latendresse was originally acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in November of 2009 in exchange for winger Benoit Pouliot, and provided some scoring punch with 25 goals and 12 assists in 55 games for Minnesota over the rest of that season before injuries began to derail his career. He is still just 25 years old, and definitely has the size (6’2″, 230 lbs.) to be a physical force up front if he can shake the injury bug. No matter where he ultimately lands, Latendresse will not find a lucrative long-term deal with the injury risk he now is.