Better luck next year: The Minnesota Wild's salary cap problems are not going away
That is going to continue to be a major problem for Bill Guerin in building his team into a Stanley Cup contender.
Welcome to Better Luck Next Season. As each NHL team gets eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention, and then the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we will take a look at what went wrong, what went right, and what sits ahead for them. Today we look at the Minnesota Wild who managed a brutal salary cap situation to the best of their abilities. But this might be their ceiling.
Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin had one of the toughest jobs of any general manager in the NHL this season.
It is not going to get any easier over the next two years.
Not only did he have the responsibility of trying to build a contending team in a tough division that housed the reigning Stanley Cup champions, he had to do so with $14 million in dead money on his salary cap thanks to the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts.
While his competitors had $82.5 million to spend on players, he only had $68 million to spend. That is a huge disadvantage, and we dug into that before the start of the season and how poorly teams tend to do when putting together a roster that far below the cap ceiling.
It not only limited what the Wild could do in the offseason in terms of adding talent, it also cost them one of their top offensive stars in Kevin Fiala who was dealt to the Loos Angeles Kings.
Despite all of that, the Wild still managed to put together 103-point team that had somehow created enough salary cap space for itself in-season to add John Klingberg, Oskar Sundqvist, Gustav Nyquist and Marcus Johansson before the NHL Trade Deadline. It was all even more impressive when you consider the man-games lost to injury for Kirill Kaprizov and Ryan Hartman.
It was all probably the best possible case scenario.
Unfortunately, that still only ended with a First Round loss to the Dallas Stars.
It is difficult to see how it gets better from here in the short-term for the Wild.
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