Minnesota locks up Bouchard
After losing offensive weapons Brian Rolston and Pavol Demitra through free agency during the offseason, the Wild made sure that they'd have playmaking whiz Pierre-Marc Bouchard around for the next two seasons at least.Yet another restricted free agent signs right before an arbitration hearing. Bouchard's was to be on Monday here in Toronto.
The Wild and Bouchard agreed late Friday night to a five-year, $20.4 million contract that includes, according to assistant general manager Tom Lynn, a commitment by general manager Doug Risebrough not to trade Bouchard for at least two years.
The $4.08-million cap hit bumps the Wild closer to the cap (about $2-million shy), and is a pretty reasonable contract for a player who's been consistently in the 60-point range the past three seasons and is just 24 years old.
Consider, for instance, that Jeff Carter's deal was for three years and $15-million.
Minnesota's major concern now is going to be getting Marian Gaborik on a long-term deal, as he's a pending unrestricted free agent who could command huge dollars on the open market.
It's going to be interesting to see where the team's goals come from now that both Demitra and Rolston have jumped ship. Bouchard could be the beneficiary with bigger minutes — especially at even strength given he was already used heavily on the power play — as he skated in under 17 minutes a game last season.
UPDATE “Pierre-Marc is just 24 years old and the best years of his career are ahead of him,” said Wild GM Doug Risebrough. “He is a good example of how drafting and developing your own players leads to team success. This is why the Wild was willing to make such a substantial and long-term commitment to him.”