A year ago, the Wild provided the fireworks to a hot and steamy 4th of July. Fast forward a year later and the free agent show isn't going to be nearly as grand.
After giving Zach Parise and Ryan Suter matching $98 million deals the franchise has tried to finesse their cap and find money stashed in every nook and cranny of Xcel Energy Center. With the salary cap decreasing nearly $6 million from a season ago, the Wild would enter the free agency period which begins at 11a.m., with about $1 million to spend.
Wednesday, the Wild made the difficult decision to buy out the contract of Bloomington Jefferson grad Tom Gilbert, clearing nearly $4 million of cap space. A day later, news broke regarding two locals. Matt Cullen, who spent the last three seasons in a Wild sweater was notified by Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher that the team would not be able to offer him a contract. Cullen was a solid contributor last season for the Wild, but money along with depth in the minor leagues made him expendable.
Thursday also brought news that former Gopher defenseman Keith Ballard had agreed to terms on a two-year deal. Ballard was a compliance buyout casualty earlier this week when Vancouver parted ways with the Minnesota native.