Wild signs D Shane Hnidy; Bouchard looking more and more like No. 2 center; Boogey-Havlat to fight for No. 24?; Coaching staff set
How excited is “Sheriff” Shane Hnidy to be a member of the Minnesota Wild this afternoon? He’s in the bush of Northern Manitoba fishing. I called his home number, got his wife and she told me he was out of town until Sunday and virtually unreachable.
Next thing I know, I get a phone call two minutes later with about 17 numbers on the caller I.D.
It was Hnidy calling me from a satellite phone.
Hnidy, who lives eight hours north of here, feels like he just signed with his hometown team. He’s known throughout the league as a character, heart-and-soul, sandpaper guy. Hard hits, gets into a handul of fights a year.
So as expected, the Wild got its Nos. 4/5 and 6 with “hard” type defensemen (Greg Zanon and Hnidy) to complement the mobile, offensive types in the top-four.
This rounds out the top-seven. Barring a trade, the blue line will be Burns, Johnsson, Schultz, Zidlicky, Zanon, Hnidy, Scott.
Hnidy signed a one-year, $750,000 contract. He spent the last two years in Boston. In 477 NHL games, he has 14 goals, 57 points, is a plus-22 and 565 penalty minutes.
Also, it is looking more and more like Pierre-Marc Bouchard could be given the biggest look as the team’s No. 2 center. That, of course, is only if the Wild can’t sign Saku Koivu or can’t make a trade.
Chuck Fletcher again said today that Koivu is the only center-ice option minus a trade in free agency, and the team just continues to wait as he makes a decision. It’s up to him now, and like I said on the previous post, the team thinks he’s not signing here.
Todd Richards talked extensively today about how if the Wild doesn’t make another center pickup, he feels Bouchard “can be that guy.”
Winger Ruslan Fedotenko signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal to remain in Pittsburgh. He clearly just didn’t want to leave because I know for the fact the Wild and a number of other teams offered him multi-year deals.
Now, the Wild probably just waits until later in the summer to maybe sign another free agent or work on trades. Fletcher basically said today that Koivu is the one guy they’re still waiting on. I don’t sense a lot of interest in Alex Tanguay or Ales Kotalik. Again, you don’t build a team to sign players just for the sake of signing players. You build teams with the right guys, and to get stuck with a huge Tanguay contract when there could be better options before the season, into the season or even next summer, it just makes no sense.
So, if Koivu doesn’t sign here (and as mentioned on previous blog, it’s not looking good), I wouldn’t expect much news for a little while.
Marty Havlat was introduced to the media today. I bet my life last night to a couple buddles that Marian Gaborik already offered to sell his condo to Martin Havlat. I live!!!!!!!!!!
Also, Havlat’s first conversation was going to be with Derek Boogaard to see what he could do to entice No. 24 to leave his body. Boogaard had a good line to me, … which you can read in the paper
Update: Boogaard won; Havlat will wear 14
Development camp next week. Tyler Cuma was in, looked great and said his knee feels great.
Also, Mike Ramsey, Dave Barr (old Colorado assistant), Matt Shaw and Bob Mason will make up next year’s coaching staff. Add: Strength coach Kirk Olson did not have his contract renewed.
Here’s a funny one for you, which explains a major typo in today’s paper. Wild can never sign or play Brian Boucher. When I write Boucher in my MS word, it automatically changes it to Bouchard.
Another thing that’s been on my mind the last few days? Wonder how Gaborik’s groins will react to by far the worst ice in the NHL — Madison Square Garden?
Add: Wild minor-leaguer Corey Locke signed with the Rangers.
All this and much more in Saturday’s paper.