The Wild have very little room to work with this offseason when it comes to the free agent market. The Wild have only 9.1 million in cap space and have a handful of free agents they have to decide what to do with. Depending on who they re-sign, the Wild may have room to make an offseason move or two. Below I've listed the top 5 free agent forwards the Wild should consider this summer.
5. David Clarkson
Clarkson had a huge gap to fill this season with the loss of Zach Parise. He was ready to take on the task. Clarkson scored 15 goals and 39 points. He was 4th in the league in shots on goal. Clarkson's previous contract was 3 years worth $8 million. The Devils have stated that Clarkson's future with the team isn't for certain. If that's the case and the price is right, Clarkson could be a possible option.
4. Blake Wheeler
In a previous blog I stated the importance of the Wild finding a big physical goal scorer. Look no further than the 6' 5" monster in Blake Wheeler. Not only does he have a big body that can create chaos in front of the net, he's an assisting machine and can put the puck in the net himself. He's due for a pay day from Winnipeg and a fairly expensive contract. Winnipeg has a lot of cap space moving forward, but have many contracts that require attention. Bryan Little, Nik Antropov, Zach Bogosian and Ron Hainsey are the top players, including Wheeler who are a high priority for the Jets. Between these top players and another 19 contracts, bringing back Blake Wheeler may not be able to happen. Wheeler is also a Minnesota native and former Golden Gopher. Playing for slightly less money but for his home state, may strike appealing to the right winger.
3. Damien Brunner
It's still uncertain if Brunner will be back next season in Detroit after signing a one year deal with the franchise, coming over from Sweden. The 27 year old played his first NHL season putting up 36 points with the Red Wings. He's still young and has more to prove. If the Wings let him walk, he may be a grest 3rd line addition for the Wild and could add some much needed scoring punch on the 2nd power play unit with his speed and shooter mentality.
2. Tyler Bozak
If the Wild choose not to bring back Matt Cullen, it will leave them with a hole in center. Their younger prospects aren't NHL ready and Mikael Granlund has shown that playing winger suits him best. Tyler Bozak would be a great replacement and could possibly come at a decent price. Toronto will need to hand out lengthy deals to youngsters Nazem Kadri, Joel Colborne and Cody Franson. The Leafs have just under $19.5 million in cap space and odds are they will be spending alot of that on Franson and Kadri. They may still have enough to re-sign Bozak, but if they do decide to part ways, Minnesota could be a potential landing spot for the 27 year old center.
1. Matt Cullen
With young players developing in the minors and this teams nack for sticking to their prospect core, signing Cullen makes the most sense. Cullen had a great season Scoring 7 goals and 27 points, while becoming a mentor for linemates Devin Setoguchi and Jason Zucker. When Culen missed an entire month due to a lower body injury, Zucker and Seto both struggled. With one more season playing alongside Cullen, both players will only improve and mature going forward. Cullen may be 36, but still has some gas left in the tank and can still perform his duties on and off the ice as a player and mentor. The Minnesota native would love nothing more than to finish his career here in the State of Hockey, and may be willing to re-sign at a cheaper price. If he's willing to take a slight pay cut, I can see Matt Cullen in a Wild uniform one last season