Guerin: Wild will be 'every bit as good' in 2022-23 despite cap crunch
The Minnesota Wild are about to enter a salary-cap crunch after buying out Ryan Suter's and Zach Parise's contracts last summer, but general manager Bill Guerin doesn't believe it'll seriously impact his team's ability to compete in 2022-23.
"I don't think it's difficult. I mean, it's just where we are," Guerin told reporters Tuesday. "We have these empty cap hits, and that's it. We'll deal with it. I think we'll be every bit as good next year.
"Would we love to have that cap space? Of course, we would. But you know what? We knew exactly what we were doing. We knew exactly what position we were putting ourselves in. I'd do it again."
The Wild bought out the remaining four years of Suter's and Parise's deals in July. They carried identical $7.54-million cap hits. The move gave Minnesota $10.3 million in cap savings in 2021-22, but the two players will count for almost $13 million against the cap in 2022-23 and $14.7 million in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 campaigns.
Guerin reiterated several times that the organization would deal with the cap squeeze, but it appears pending restricted free-agent forward Kevin Fiala may be a casualty.
"I mean, we'd love to have Kevin back," Guerin said, according to NHL.com's Jessi Pierce. "I don't know if it's going to be possible. But we have to dig into it a little bit and to see what we could possibly do. But there is uncertainty."
He added: "Hey, look, we can do anything. But at what cost?"
Fiala just wrapped up a one-year deal with a $5.1-million cap hit. The 25-year-old is due for a raise after putting up 33 goals and 52 assists in 82 regular-season contests.
The Wild have about $8 million to work with, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo, and need to make decisions in the crease. Pending unrestricted free-agent Marc-Andre Fleury expressed interest in re-signing with Minnesota. Cam Talbot, who dazzled toward the end of the regular season, has one year remaining on his deal.
"There's no controversy. There's no drama," Guerin said, according to the Star Tribune's Sarah McLellan. "We like both goalies. We like both people. We want them both back, and we think we can be successful with both of them."
The St. Louis Blues eliminated the Wild from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs in six games.