In just one day the NHL free agency period will start. July 1st, is just another day for most people, but not NHL fans. It looks like the Minnesota Wild are hunting for more scoring, and some added leadership. It’s been reported that both Thomas Vanek and JaromeIginla has been contacted by the Wild.
The Vanek to Minnesota talk is nothing new, as it has been long rumored that Vanek has wanted to go “home” and skate for the Wild. Homecoming aside the Minnesota Wild would not be getting anything more than a second line player. Vanek is a very talented player, and comes across as lazy. However, he is not lazy he just has a way of making his efforts look less than desirable. If Wild fans think Vanek is going to skate up and down the ice they will be very disappointed. Former teammate Andrew Peters has said on a Buffalo Radio station that “Vanek only puts in as much work as he needs to. He is not a player to just skate because other people want to see him skate.”
Vanek is among some of the better players available in the NHL free agency market. I’m guessing he will be asking for $7 million and 5-6 years. Fair market value, coupled with a lack luster NHL Playoff performance should drive that number down a little, but like most signings during NHL free agency Vanek will most likely be over paid for his services.
As we move forward and narrow out focus in Iginla, I’m feeling a bit puzzled. Iginla is in the final years of an outstanding NHL career, but seeing him skating in a Wild uniform feels wrong. This is a case of a player chasing a dream, and while I don’t blame him for wanting a last chance to skate with the Stanley Cup I do blame him for how is seems to go about getting that chance.
At 37 years old Iginla put up 61 points as a member of the Boston Bruins, a number that would have made the aging forward the Wild’s leading scorer last year. There were rumblings that the Bruins would like to resign Iginla, but they don’t have the cap space to do so. Boston’s misfortune could be a gift to the Wild.
Minnesota has $19,924,744 in cap space and the addition of either Vanek or Iginla could get this team to the next level. Given these two potions I’d be more inclined to figure out a way to sign both players. Vanek playing in front of people he knows could change his game, and Iginla would be a strong voice in a younger locker room.