As one of the Minnesota Wild's restricted free agents is believed to be considering an offer from the KHL, forward Nino Niederreiter rejected "a huge offer" from the European-based league in order to continue the negotiation process with the club, his agent, Andre Rufener, informed the Pioneer Press via email.
The two sides remain committed to reaching a deal prior to the start of training camp on Sept. 18, and Rufener told Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune that the two sides are indeed very close to signing the contract.
"We are close [to a contract with the Wild] and I really hope and I truly believe that we can get it done,” Rufener said “It’s in our best interest to get it done before camp, so that’s what we’re trying to do. I’m very positive about it [getting done]. I will be disappointed if we could not get it done. We’re very close and we cannot let that slide through our fingers from both sides.”
Interestingly, general manager Chuck Fletcher is believed to have presented a "new, interesting idea” in regards to a long-term contract earlier this week. This new offer, however, remains one of several possibilities being discussed, according the Rufener.
“We have to take a look into this,” Rufener said. “It’s interesting and it’s a possibility. At this point, it’s not clear yet. Terms are not clear yet. There’s still several options. We’re working on it and Chuck tells me, too, that it’s in our best interest to get this done in the next week.... That’s what we want to do.”
Going back to the KHL offer, the agent affirmed the 22-year-old has no interest in leaving Minnesota: “I told Nino up front, ‘this [KHL offer] might be the only leverage we have,’ but it’s not really leverage because Nino made clear he wants to play in the NHL and for Minnesota.”