|Minnesota Wild F Kyle Brodziak (photo from Getty)|
After a 2-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on national television, which in itself is a Hockey Day in America miracle, the Minnesota Wild announced that they re-signed forward Kyle Brodziak to a three-year contract.
Brodziak could have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Terms of the deal have not been announced but according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the deal has a cap hit of $2.83 million ($8.5M total).
The cap hit is an increase from the three-year, $3.345 million contract he signed shortly after being traded from Edmonton for a 4th and 5th round pick.
With just over a week before the trade deadline, Brodziak's 29 points (15 goals - 14 assists) are third on the team and he has been a versatile center in a season which has seen the top-six decimated by injuries. It's raised the question of whether Kyle would sign and his trade value have recently been a popular subject among Wild fans. Back in October, Cole wrote a blog on First Round Bust on re-signing Brodziak which proposed trading him at the deadline.
From the article:
The Wild will eventually need players like Kyle Brodziak and while he’s been a surprise and pleasure to watch here in Minnesota, this franchise is just not at that level where it's vital to keep him around. Given the early returns on recent Wild second round picks in addition to the current perceived strength of the 2012 draft, the Wild could do well with that type of selection added to currently ascending prospect pool and franchise.Personally, I'm okay with the decision for a few reasons. Although Brodziak could have fetched a healthy return on the trade market, Minnesota already has Marek Zidlicky out there. For a team trying to make a playoff run (regardless of whether or not the Wild have a legitimate shot, they are not going to blow things up at this point) Minnesota needs guys like Brodziak to give depth and be able to provide leadership and scoring.
Signing Brodziak - a guy who wants to play in Minnesota - is also a good way to show free agents that the Wild organization is on the up; especially in light of two players with no-trade clauses (Marty Havlat and Zidlicky) wanting out. It's tough to convince the Zach Parises (even if he's "one of us!") or Ryan Suters to sign with an organization that hasn't made the playoffs in three years (possibly four) and is trying to embrace a youth movement while being competitive. Minnesota may have money (approximately $20 million in cap space give or take Zidlicky, albeit some of it will be taken by guys like Mikael Granlund and Guillaume Latendresse if he gets qualified) but they're not alone.
At the same time, I also like the length and money of Brodziak's contract. One of the issues the Wild have had in the past is having money tied up in long-term deals which saw guys overpaid and not produce. Some of it had to do with poor drafting but it's better having guys like Brodziak, Latendresse and Devin Setoguchi (all who can score 20+ goals) for under $3 million while letting the Granlunds, Coyles, Zuckers and Phillips slowly develop. Kyle has proven he can produce with a plethora of players (this season has shown he didn't benefit from Havlat), is durable (he's only missed two games in three years) and play two-way hockey.
If all goes right, Brodziak can help develop the next generation of Wild players - by the time his contract is up the prospect pool should be ready - and the deal is far from being an albatross if the time comes to trade.