The Minnesota Wild will have a lot of decisions to make in the offseason, as they begin to assess the statuses of their restricted and unrestricted free agents. While the top concern will be a new deal for goaltender Niklas Backstrom, bringing back defenseman Jared Spurgeon needs to be the next order of business for the Wild.
Spurgeon trailed only Ryan Suter in points among Wild defensemen this season, as he scored five goals and had 15 points. Four goals and three points came on the power play, as Spurgeon added even more value as a special teams threat. The five goals were a career-high for the young blueliner, who averaged more than 21 minutes of ice time this season. Spurgeon is definitely in line for a bump in salary, but the Wild need to ensure that Suter has some young, talented players around him if they hope to be a perennial playoff contender.
Through 39 games with the Wild, Spurgeon only took two minor penalties. Having a strong player like him on the ice as much as possible is vital to the success of the Wild, and in a contract year Spurgeon did everything possible to earn a healthy new deal. With a lot of pieces to try and bring back into the fold, the Wild will start next season with some new pieces. They have a lot of young talent in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, and as they add in some of those players having Suter, Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner and Jonas Brodin in place on the blue line can only help with the development of the next wave of players.