The Wild are in an absolute pickle.
Injuries to Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise, and now Marcus Foligno AS WELL AS Charlie Coyle will put the Wild in a cap crunch.
With four players injured by the end of Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks in Chicago, the Minnesota Wild are down to 9 healthy forwards on the roster, leaving them shorthanded up front. Earlier this week they were forced to fill the hole in the lineup with extra defensemen in the 5-4 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes last weekend.
The Wild are paying out $74,793,591 this season to players on their current roster, leaving the team just $206,409 of space with the NHL’s $75 million salary cap. That’s not enough to call up a forward from the minors. To do that, the Wild would need to send down a defenseman, WHO ALSO can’t be put on waivers.
The Wild cannot lose another D man for the sake of the cap. After losing Erik Haula in the expansion, they cleared some cap space only to replace it with now injured players.
Originally, the plan was a first line of Eric Staal centering Marcus Foligno and Charlie Coyle, a second line of Mikko Koivu centering Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter, and a third line of Joel Eriksson Ek centering Tyler Ennis and Chris Stewart, with Matt Cullen and Daniel Winnik filling in. Now Staal is the only remaining healthy player on the first line.
Boudreau is hopeful Parise will be able to return for the Oct. 20-21 games at Winnipeg and Calgary. Granlund on the other hand has a less specific timeline but has been ruled out for the next 3-4 games.
Toronto, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and Washington all have higher salary caps than Minnesota. Each team except for Washington has multiple players on the LTIR. Take a look at St. Louis they have 6 guys on LTIR.
Things have gone from bad to worse in Minnesota. Having their strongest (and most expensive) forwards on the mend, the Wild are in for a rough October.
Dubynk will have his hands full the next few weeks. Buy low on him once the forwards get back on the ice, whenever that may be.