The Minnesota Wild have managed to secure one of their top young talents despite living in cap hell.
Announced by the team on Monday morning, the Wild have signed Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49-million ($7-million AAV) contract that will keep him in Minnesota through the 2029-30 season.
The 21-year-old winger was going to be a restricted free agent this summer after his rookie deal was set to expire, but the Wild checked off their top offseason priority after locking him up for the long-term. As a bonus, this contract also buys up two of Boldy’s unrestricted free agency years, delaying him hitting the open market.
Now, this makes things only more complicated for the Wild’s salary cap structure. With the looming dead cap hits of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter that combine to over $14.75 million for the next two seasons due to their buyouts in 2021, Minnesota is needing to pinch every penny they can to put a competitive team on the ice.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) January 16, 2023
Because of this, it was initially expected that Boldy would have to settle for a short-term bridge deal, bringing down the cap hit by millions and letting the Wild re-sign some other players. But with Wild GM Bill Guerin not being able to resist locking up a burgeoning star like Boldy to a team-friendly, long-term deal, he has kicked the can down the road and will need to make some difficult decisions.
Current top center Sam Steel, young up-and-comer netminder Filip Gustavsson, dynamic blueliner Calen Addison, and a pair of gritty forwards in Mason Shaw and Brandon Duhaime, are all RFAs this summer. And that's not even mentioning pending UFAs like Matt Dumba, Frederick Gaudreau, and Ryan Reaves, who they will need to replace on the roster. With Boldy signed, the Wild only have 14 current NHL players with contracts next season and approximately $9.3 million in cap space to re-sign those young players and fill out the rest of that roster.
It might seem like the Wild put themselves in a difficult situation, but keeping a player like Boldy around – who is excellent in all three zones and is a fiend on the power play – for a very long time at a decent cap should be worth it.
In his first 89 career games, Boldy has scored 27 goals and 68 points, while also being a possession monster.
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