Hockey in the Land of Duck, Duck, Gray, Duck
Hey hockey fans! Some exciting news to share with you all today. I have heard from multiple sources that Kirill Kaprizov is very close to signing a five-year contract, somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million AAV. I just confirmed that today with a member of the Wild organization actually, so hopefully, they can get him signed soon and I can order my Kap jersey.
On Saturday, September 4 at 10 a.m., the Wild will be revealing what the 2022 Winter Classic jersey will look like at their booth at the Minnesota State Fair with the assistance of Wild captain, Jared Spurgeon.
So, speaking of the Wild, let’s talk notable free agents signings and contract extensions from the off-season, shall we? Joel Eriksson Ek is the biggest deal of the off-season thus far, signing an 8-year, $42 million extension with the home team. The center from Sweden had 19 goals and 11 assists last year. His shot percentage? A spicy 16.0%, which, if you’re into stats, is higher than any shooting percentage in a season ever by a guy in Washington, named Ovechkin. One out of six shots going into the back of the net? Yeah, keep shooting that puck, Ek!!!
Kevin Fiala, who posted a 20 goal/20 assist season in 2020-21, re-signed with the Wild for one year and $5.1 million. He has had some great seasons with the Wild and I’m hoping that the two sides can find a longer-term deal before he becomes a free agent, but he has had a hot stick the past few seasons, so it’s good to keep him at least another year. Nick Bjugstad signed a one-year extension worth $900,000. He had 17 points in 44 games last year and had a plus-7 rating and 3 game-winning tallies. A decent signing for the Wild and for the Minneapolis-native as well.
Alex Goligoski, a Grand Rapids, MN native and Wild defenseman, signed with the Wild, as well as Jon Merrill, who played on the Canadiens team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year. They also picked up Jordie Benn, who played the majority of his career in Dallas, and Dmitry Kulikov, who is a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers….back in 2009. Let’s face it, the youngest of these guys is Merrill, who is 29 years old, so while they will eat up some minutes and provide depth to the blue line, none of them could be considered elite defensemen.
Obviously locking up Kaprizov will be priority number 1 and rest assured, I will be like a kid on Christmas morning when the deal is finally announced.
I am so damn excited to join The Morning Skate team and I have lots of blog ideas that I will be bringing to you this season. Topics for the season include, but are not limited to:
- Men’s’ and women’s’ collegiate hockey
- Girl’s and boy’s high school hockey
- Youth hockey coverage
- Guest interviews of Minnesota sports authors
- How a Zamboni works
- The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, MN
- Minnesota connections to the 1980 Miracle on Ice (there are just a few)
I know some of you are brand-new hockey fans, so I want to provide full coverage to the wonderful, wonderful world of hockey in Minnesota. Like my tag says, “hockey is like a religion in Minnesota and I’m here to preach.” Sure, I can list all kinds of stats, but unless you have lived the hockey culture in Minnesota, you just don’t understand what it’s like.I will do my best to fill in those gaps for you.
Preseason hockey begins on September 25. Get your man-caves and she-sheds ready!!! Wild hockey is almost here! Go Wild!