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NHL Minnesota Wild

NHL: Five Minnesota Wild Players Who Won’t Be Back in 2014

NHL: Five Minnesota Wild Players Who Should Not Be Back Next Season

Minnesota Wild NHL
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are preparing for a postseason series with the Colorado Avalanche right now, and if they bow out of the playoffs quickly the status of head coach Mike Yeo will be speculated on immediately.

Regardless of how long they last in the playoffs, here are five players that should not be back with the Wild next season.

5. W Mike Rupp

Mike Rupp
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

5. W Mike Rupp

Mike Rupp Minnesota Wild
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The most noteworthy thing Rupp has done during his time with the Wild is get suspended for a hit on T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues last week. It should go without saying they are unlikely to make any effort to bring him back.

4. D Clayton Stoner

Clayton Stoner
Mike Stobe-Getty Images

4. D Clayton Stoner

Clayton Stoner Minnesota Wild
Mike Stobe-Getty Images

Stoner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, and with Matt Dumba and Christian Folin possibly ready to contribute next season the Wild may let him explore his options.

3. G Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov
Harry How-Getty Images

3. G Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov Minnesota Wild
Harry How-Getty Images

Bryzgalov has played well since the Wild acquired him just prior to the trade deadline, and he’ll be their No.1 goalie in the playoffs. But he may seek greener pastures, and a more obvious path to a starting job, in free agency this summer.

2. G Niklas Backstrom

Niklas Backstrom
Christian Petersen-Getty Images

2. G Niklas Backstrom

Niklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild
Christian Petersen-Getty Images

Backstrom has two years and close to eight million dollars left on his contract, and injuries were again a factor for him this year. Leaving aside his age (36) and injury concerns the money left on Backstrom’s contract should not prevent a trade, and I expect general manager Chuck Fletcher to actively shop him this summer.

1. RW Dany Heatley

Dany Heatley
Jeff Gross-Getty Images

1. RW Dany Heatley

Dany Heatley Minnesota Wild
Jeff Gross-Getty Images

Heatley is clearly a player in decline, with just 28 points in 76 regular season games this year. So it’s convenient for the Wild that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.