Wild 2022 Free Agents, Draft Targets, Offseason Guide After NHL Playoff Loss
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.
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
- One first-round pick
- One second-round pick
- One third-round pick
- One fourth-round pick
- One fifth-round pick
- One sixth-round pick
Here's a look at Minnesota's selections in the upcoming draft:
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.
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.