The Minnesota Wild head into the summer with a good handful of free agent decisions to make, and after an early exit from the playoffs they need to look at what worked for them this season and what didn’t as they get ready to decide which players to re-sign. There likely isn’t going to be much cap space left, and with the addition of Jason Pominville, the asking price to bring back winger Pierre-Marc Bouchard may be too high.
Bouchard finished seventh on the team in scoring during the 2013 season, with eight goals and 20 points. He had a cap hit of more than $4 million this past season, and has had trouble staying healthy the past four seasons. At this point he may be too much of a risk for the Wild, even if he has been with the team since 2002. His current salary is pretty high for a player who hasn’t hit the 20 goal mark since the 2006-07 season, and with Pominville around for the full 2013-14 season there should already be increased scoring.
The Wild should have a healthy Dany Heatley back, and will have Zach Parise and Devin Setoguchi around as well. After seeing how rookies like Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker performed in 2013, the time may have arrived for the Wild to focus on younger players with more upside rather than bring back a veteran like Bouchard who continues to look like he is past his prime. The other looming decisions at forward include free agents Matt Cullen and Cal Clutterbuck, as well as Carson McMillan.