5 Biggest Minnesota Wild Rumors Heading Into 2014 NHL Offseason

5 Biggest Minnesota Wild Rumors Heading Into 2014 NHL Offseason

Minnesota Wild Team
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The Wild made the playoffs as a wild card team in 2013. For the first time since 2003, the team advanced in the playoffs, defeating the Avalanche in a riveting seven-game series. However, the Wild were unable to defeat the pesky Blackhawks in the conference semifinals and were sent home disappointed.

The Wild will look to improve on a strong 2013 season. Here are the five biggest Wild rumors heading into the 2014 offseason.

Free Agent Signing of Forward Thomas Vanek

Thomas Vanek Montreal Canadiens
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agent Signing of Forward Thomas Vanek

Thomas Vanek Montreal Canadiens
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

This has been a Wild-related rumor for quite some time now. Vanek began the 2013 season with the Buffalo Sabres, but was traded to the New York Islanders and then to the Montreal Canadiens at the NHL trade deadline. Vanek has said he wants to test the open market and given that he played his college hockey at the University of Minnesota and is good friends with Wild forward Jason Pominville, Minnesota might be the perfect landing spot for him.

Re-sign Head Coach Mike Yeo

Mike Yeo Minnesota Wild
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Re-sign Head Coach Mike Yeo

Mike Yeo Minnesota Wild
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

This is much more a certainty than it is a rumor. The Wild have expressed a desire to bring back Yeo after he showed improvement this season. Yeo has also said he would like to remain the head coach of the Wild. Expect a contract extension to be announced very soon.

Trade/Release of Goalie Niklas Bäckström

Niklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Trade/Release of Goalie Niklas Bäckström

Niklas Backstrom Minnesota Wild
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Backstrom is one of, if not the greatest goalies in Wild history. However, he has recently been battling injuries and has been ineffective when he has been between the pipes. Expect the Wild to look for possible trade suitors as it looks like the 36-year-old is not in the Wild’s future given the presence of Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper.

New Contracts

Nino Niederreiter Goal Celebration Minnesota Wild
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

New Contracts

Nino Niederreiter Goal Celebration Minnesota Wild
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild have a number of players who are in need of a contract extension. The contracts of Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, Justin Fontaine, Matt Moulson, Cody McCormick, Clayton Stoner, Nate Prosser and Darcy Kuemper are all expiring. Also, the contracts of Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Jonas Brodin are set to expire after next season. Expect the vast majority of these players to receive new contracts.

Departure of Veterans

Dany Heatley Minnesota Wild
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Departure of Veterans

Dany Heatley Minnesota Wild
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The contracts of forward Dany Heatley and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov also are expiring following the 2013 season. Heatley has shown clear decline, but still played an important role with the Wild this season, especially during the playoffs. Bryzgalov gave the Wild a lot more than expected at a position that was an uncertainty all season. Expect both of these veterans to move on from the Wild unless each player can reach a very team-friendly deal.

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