Wild 2022 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss

Erin WalshContributor IMay 13, 2022

Wild 2022 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss

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    Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Wild were eliminated from the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs following an 5-1 loss in Game 6 of their first-round series against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday at Enterprise Center. 

    It was a disappointing end to the season for Minnesota, which finished second place in the Central Division with a 53-22-7 record. It was one of their best seasons in recent years, and the team looked primed for a deep playoff run. 

    With the season now over, the Wild will go back to the drawing board to prepare for the 2022-23 campaign. Let's take a look at Minnesota's free agents, some draft targets and what to expect moving forward. 

Free Agents

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Kevin Fiala (RFA), Nicolas Deslauriers (UFA), Nick Bjugstad (UFA), Connor Dewar (RFA), Jordie Benn (UFA), Jacob Middleton (RFA), Marc-Andre Fleury (UFA) 


    Marc-Andre Fleury will be Minnesota's most significant free agent this offseason, and the franchise will need to decide quickly whether it wants to bring him back for the 2022-23 season. 

    It wouldn't be expensive for the Wild to retain the netminder, who will turn 38 in November. He had a $3.5 million salary for the 2021-22 season and is unlikely to be paid any more than that on a new deal. 

    Fleury had a solid 2021-22 season, too, going 28-23-5 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. If the Wild don't re-sign him, they'll likely be looking for another goaltender on the free-agent market to join Cam Talbot in 2022-23. 

2022 Draft Targets

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    Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

    The Wild have several selections in the 2022 NHL draft despite trading away one of their second-round picks to acquire Fleury and their seventh-round pick move Devan Dubnyk to the San Jose Sharks.

    Here's a look at Minnesota's selections in the upcoming draft:

    • One first-round pick
    • One second-round pick
    • One third-round pick
    • One fourth-round pick
    • One fifth-round pick
    • One sixth-round pick

    With an expected late first-round pick, the Wild could target Liam Ohgren, Calle Odelius and Jagger Firkus.

    Ohgren spent the 2021-22 season with Djurgardens IF J20 in Sweden and notched 33 goals and 25 assists for 58 points in 30 games. The winger is a skilled power forward that would fit in well alongside someone like Kirill Kaprizov.

    Odelius also played for Djurgardens IF J20 during the 2021-22 season. The 6'0", 185-pound defenseman seven goals and 23 assists for 30 points in 43 games. He is a solid two-way, puck-moving defender who could help take Minnesota's defense to the next level.

    Firkus, meanwhile, spent the 2021-22 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. The forward tallied 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points in 66 games. He is a menace in the slot, finding ways to score goals any way possible, and the Wild could use a player like him down the line.

Free-Agent Targets

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    If the Wild are unable to retain Fleury, Darcy Kuemper or Braden Holtby might be intriguing options for the franchise. 

    Kuemper spent the 2021-22 season with the Colorado Avalanche, going 37-12-4 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He's one of the most talented goaltenders set to hit free agency, and he would be a nice replacement for Fleury. 

    The same can be said for Holtby, who went 10-10-1 with a 2.78 GAA and .913 save percentage during the 2021-22 season with the Dallas Stars. While the 32-year-old is no longer in his prime, he could thrive in the right situation. 

    Beyond goaltenders, Minnesota could use a depth forward such as Ondrej Palat or Nino Niederreiter, and a defenseman like Ben Chiarot or even Kris Letang.