The Minnesota Wild did themselves a huge favor when they bought out both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, at least for this season. They can now protect an additional forward like Nico Sturm or Victor Rask. On defense, they can finally protect Matt Dumba.
However, another very good defenseman is exposed in Carson Soucy and is likely to be taken by the Seattle Kraken. Why lose him for nothing? Could the Rangers be working on a deal to acquire the big lefty defender?
Considering what the Avalanche did with Ryan Graves to the Devils, it’s very possible.
Rangers signing Julien Gauthier may have been the tip off
Yesterday, the Rangers came to terms with Julien Gauthier. It was a bit of an eyebrow raising move since they inked Brett Howden the week before. That move gave the Blueshirts flexibility if they wanted to protect either Colin Blackwell or Kevin Rooney against the Kraken expansion.
Teams must expose two forwards, one defenseman, and one goalie under contract for next season to Seattle.
The Rangers on defense can protect RFA Libor Hajek as their third defenseman even though he’s unsigned. That leaves them with Anthony Bitetto and Tony DeAngelo to meet the requirements for exposure.
So what are they planning?
Minnesota Wild need more cap space savings
Minnesota has 26 million in cap space. They still need to sign Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala to new deals. Kaprizov wants big money, so consider that at least $8-9 million gone. The problem for the Wild comes in 2022-23 where they will have over $12 million in dead cap space. That number grows to $14 million for the next two seasons after that. So in truth, the Wild have about 12 million in real space to work with.
The Wild know they have a valuable asset in Carson Soucy. He’s 6-5 and weighs 210 lbs, a big man the Rangers are looking for to beef up their blue-line. He’s just 26 years-old and has two years remaining on his deal that comes with an AAV of $2.75 million.
The Rangers could easily send Julien Gauthier and Anthony Bitetto over for Soucy. Both players meet the qualifications and will give the Wild the two forwards and one defenseman they need to expose to Seattle. Maybe the Rangers need to throw in a draft pick to get it done, either way there’s enough evidence to point to something going on.
For Minnesota, should neither be selected, each player’s entire cap hit can be buried in the AHL. Worst case scenario, the move frees up almost $3 million in cap space over the next two seasons.
Is something brewing today? We will find out by 3 PM.
As the expansion draft looms, check out all the latest rumors here.