As every NHL fan is aware, training camp for all teams opened on September 15, 2017. The Minnesota Wild wasted no time in bringing in some more new faces on PTO’s, also known as professional tryouts.
This means the Wild can bring in these players for training camp and preseason but don’t have any obligation to them. If Minnesota wishes to keep the players once the regular season starts, they can offer them a contract.
Who signed a PTO?
Many fans may remember Ryan Malone, in his prime he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After a drug issue that was dealt with back in 2014, Malone was forced out of the NHL.
He hasn’t played for an NHL team since 2014/15 when he decided to retire. Thanks to Minnesota, if he can prove himself he may have a second chance. At the age of 37, it may be his last time ever playing professional hockey.
“Anytime you are in an NHL jersey, it’s a privilege and an honor. It’s very exciting right now.” Malone told Wild.com.
The second PTO offer went to former Washington Capital Daniel Winnik. He wasn’t offered a contract during the off-season and was forced to look for tryout opportunities. Lucky for him, the Wild were on the lookout as well.
Winnik has one advantage that Malone doesn’t; he was coached by Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau when they were both with the Anaheim Ducks’ organization.
In training camp, it’s typical for a player or two to not have a deal signed yet. The Wild took care of that problem with both Mikko Koivu and Marcus Foligno.
The Wild weren’t at risk of losing Koivu until the end of this coming season. However, Minnesota didn’t want to give any other teams even a chance at taking away their captain.
Koivu agreed to a two-year extension on his contract worth a total of $11 million. He’s been a strong asset to the Wild over the years, and he’s happy to be sticking around.
“Like I’ve said a million times, the way the people have treated myself and my family over the years, starting with the fans and the people around the rink, it’s always been first-class,” Koivu said to Wild.com, “It’s been clear for myself and my family that we wanted to stay here.”
The organization has had the same feelings as Koivu and is more than happy that he’s able to stick around. The Finn, originally drafted 6th overall by the Wild in 2001, has spent his entire 12 year career in Minnesota.
“He’s still an excellent hockey player as he showed last year,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher also said to Wild.com, “He’s one of our offensive leaders and over the years, he’s shown to be a top faceoff guy. He’s just an extremely important player in all facets of the game for our team.”
The other signing was that of Marcus Foligno, who is an unknown face to the Wild. Now that he’s officially signed, Minnesota can see what he’s made of.
He agreed to a deal that will keep him with the Wild for four years. Minnesota will give him $2 million this season and $3 million to $3.5 million over the next three seasons. The deal was signed in the knick of time with training camp starting the next day.
It’s hard to say what Foligno’s presence will do for Minnesota, but the Wild front office is excited to see him flourish. Last year, playing for the Buffalo Sabres, Foligno scored 13 goals and 10 assists in 80 games while also racking up 73 PIMs.
“Marcus is a big, physical forward who is capable of playing a heavy game while also contributing offensively. We are excited to add his presence to our lineup and watch him continue his growth as a player,” Fletcher told Wild.com.
This is the last thing anyone wants to hear during training camp but the Wild had to face it head-on with one of their biggest producers.
Zach Parise did not start training camp because of some soreness in his back. He’s had previous back issues before and the Wild didn’t want to push him too much.
However, in the second week of training camp, Minnesota received the news everyone wanted to hear. Parise has resumed skating and may be able to play before the regular season.
Don’t get too hopeful though, the Wild haven’t given Parise a deadline and they want him to be fully healthy before he returns, it all depends on him.
Despite the Wild’s injury prone Parise, Minnesota’s training camp has proven to be a decent one so far with some big signings as well as some familiar faces making a comeback.
There’s still quite a bit of time to go, but Minnesota seems to be on a good training camp run and will hopefully carry that into the regular season.
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