Joel Eriksson Ek, Wild Agree to 8-year, $42M Contract; 1st Max Deal in MIN History

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 2, 2021

SAINT PAUL, MN - MAY 20: Joel Eriksson Ek #14 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates after scoring a goal against the Vegas Golden Knights during Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on May 20, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild crossed off a major item from their offseason to-do list, signing center Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42 million deal Friday that runs through the 2028-29 season.

Minnesota Wild PR @mnwildPR

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mnwild?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#mnwild</a> today announced the club has signed forward Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42 million contract ($5.25 million AAV) that goes through the 2028-29 season. <a href="https://t.co/nfSXzQSB5A">pic.twitter.com/nfSXzQSB5A</a>

Eriksson Ek is coming off a career season with 19 goals and 11 assists. He was set to become a restricted free agent following his age 24 season.

The Wild finished the 2020-21 season 35-16-5 (75 points) for third in the West before the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the club in the first round of the playoffs. 

Eriksson Ek played a major role in Minnesota's success last year while finishing fourth in voting for the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward. He'll earn an AAV of $5.25 million and has a modified, 10-team no-trade clause that kicks in during Year 4 of the extension, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo.

It's the second-longest contract in franchise history after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed matching 13-year, $98 million deals in 2012. 

Eriksson Ek's deal comes as the Wild work on new contracts for restricted free agents Kevin Fiala and reigning Rookie of the Year Kirill Kaprizov.

Per Russo

The Wild are currently working to extend Kirill Kaprizov’s contract, but as of now, he’s seeking a short-term deal while the Wild would prefer to sign him long-term. There’s a worry that the KHL could swoop in and try to bring him back, but GM Bill Guerin did his best to diffuse that situation last week.

Guerin told Russo any talk of Kaprizov returning to the KHL was "news to me" and insisted he's not worried about getting a deal done. 

“We love Kirill, we want to get him signed. We know sometimes these things take awhile, but you have to be patient, you have to be open-minded and just keep moving forward. These things just aren’t done overnight," Guerin said. "I’ve experienced it as a manager, and I’ve experienced it as a player. For me, nothing’s gone cold. My door’s always open, my phone’s always on. So … we just got to keep working at it. I know Kirill’s agent feels the same way."

Minnesota entered the offseason with three franchise pillars in flux. At least one of those situations has been solved by Eriksson Ek's new deal. The other two are still pending with no timeline for a resolution available.