The Minnesota Wild are having a tough time getting their top goalie prospect signed. Eventually, he's going to have to sing, because he's a restricted free agent. I don't think the Wild want this to drag out much longer.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune --- A path toward a possible arbitration date would have at least guaranteed a settlement on a one- or two-year contract and would have assured that Kuemper would be signed by the commencement of camp Sept. 18. Now, a holdout — or at least the threat of one — is a possibility.
“Darcy has great potential and played very well in stretches for us [last] season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league, and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.
“Our focus right now is on getting good deals with both [Kuemper and Niederreiter]. If we can get the right deal for the player and for the team, then it’ll give us a chance to be competitive. If we spend too much money on players before they’re ready to get the money they feel they deserve, it impacts a lot of other things down the road. If we can get a deal done tomorrow, great. If it takes even into training camp, it’s really not a big deal. We’ve got great depth, we got lots of players. We’re going to have to do what’s right financially to keep this thing going forward.”
Kuemper, 24, went 12-8-4 last season with a 2.43 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He came to the Wild’s rescue when goalies Niklas Backstrom (abdominal injury) and Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) were sidelined. Kuemper’s camp, which battled the Wild three years ago before Kuemper signed his entry-level contract, appears to feel it has leverage because the Wild again plans to rely on Backstrom and Harding to be healthy next season.