Johansson Re-Signed: Wild Brass Hold Season Ending Presser
Bill Guerin and Dean Evason faced the media for the first time following their playoff series loss to Dallas.
The mood was as expected down, but the goal remains the same. Guerin is committed to winning the ultimate prize. He said emphatically that they do not enter the playoffs to win one round and be satisfied, their goal is to make the historic run.
That said he has a lot of work to be done with his roster and with the way the team is being guided. The cap is a huge issue and today Guerin announced that Marcus Johansson has been re-signed to a 2-year $4M contract. That puts the Wild roughly at about $8M under the cap with some key RFA's to be signed.
That list begins with Filip Gustavsson, and then consists of Brandon Duhaime, Connor Dewar, Calen Addison, Sam Steel, and Mason Shaw. Shaw, of course, is out long term with a torn ACL and his situation could be handled a little bit differently because of that, but either way Guerin has committed to offering Shaw a contract.
Calen Addison played his way out of the lineup as the season wore on, depsite his early season success, primarily quarterbacking the Wild's top PP unit. Guerin was very careful when asked about Addision, today at the press conference stating that they had a good talk. He added that there is no room in this league for a specialist.
The UFA decisions are another story, but one would think that all of them will be finding a home elsewhere, led by long time WIld blueliner, Matt Dumba. Guerin said that they will continue to have open lines of communication with Matt, but he gave no inclination that there was any chance of #24 staying here.
Ryan Reaves was a solid addition during the season, but his value at playoff time was limited. It was surprising that Oskar Sundqvist was not dressed in Reaves' place as the series went on. Sundqvist is another of the UFAs along with John Klingberg, and Gustav Nyquist.
Reaves would like to stay but having moved his family a lot recently he would like to have a two year deal. Nyquist would be a solid keep, if Guerin could make the numbers work of course.
That said the team needs to get younger and faster. Their special teams and faceoffs have to be addressed in such a big way that Guerin's focus should be in that direction.
Evason has done a fine job guiding this Wild team, however the assistants are in need of hard scrutiny. The playoffs are a different animal and the Wild have not shown that they can get the game in gear to win when it matters most.
The fact of the matter is the Wild under Dean Evason have now played 25 playoff games winning just eight of those. An alwrming trend is that of the 17 losses only three have come by the slimmest of margins, with two of those occuring back in the 2020 playoff bubble. vs. Vancouver. The other occurred in game four where the Wild closed the gap to one goal with a late powerplay marker with Gustavsson pulled for the extra attacker.
The Evason coached squads show almost no ability to overcome deficits and those situations are more often than not multiple goal holes. We saw the Wild sag when Roope Hintz scored in Game six, we witnessed them fold after Marcus Foligno was given the 5-minute major in game five as well.
All areas of concern and the same old apporach is not going to cut it next year. Guerin set the bar and winning "a" round will not be enough moving forward.