Unveiling the Critical Role of Ryan Hartman’s Re-signing: Impact on Minnesota’s Prospects

The Minnesota Wild has secured forward Ryan Hartman for the next three years with a $12 million contract extension, according to an announcement made by the team on Saturday. Here are the key details:

  • The extension spans until the 2026-27 season and carries an average annual value of $4 million.
  • Hartman’s current contract includes a no-move clause for the last year and the new contract’s first year, transitioning into a limited no-trade clause for Years 2 and 3.
  • During the previous regular season, Hartman, 29, contributed 15 goals and 22 assists in 59 games for the Wild, adding five points (two goals, three assists) in the playoffs.
  • Since being drafted in the first round in 2013, Hartman has amassed 107 goals and 126 assists over his nine-year career.

The Significance of Hartman

Hartman’s value to the Wild cannot be overstated. He displayed loyalty by accepting a $200,000 reduction in his current three-year deal, which resulted in a prolific season of 34 goals. This goal tally tied for the sixth-highest in a Wild season, with 33 of those goals scored at even strength. Despite any drawbacks, Hartman serves as the team’s top center, excelling in penalty killing and consistently contributing to the second power-play unit. When Joel Eriksson Ek is unavailable, Hartman is swiftly elevated to the first unit, and his partnership with Kirill Kaprizov is highly regarded. While Hartman occasionally exhibits hot-headedness, leading to undisciplined penalties and the occasional healthy scratch, he remains an effective competitor when he maintains composure and stays on the ice. — Michael Russo, NHL and Wild senior writer

Implications for the Wild’s Cap Situation Next Season

The Wild face a tight salary cap situation for the upcoming season. Due to the final year of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise’s buyouts, Minnesota must contend with spending $14.7 million less than most other teams. With recent extensions for Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno, the Wild currently possess $12.418 million of available cap space next season, already having signed nine forwards, five defensemen, and one goalie. The restricted free agents include Connor Dewar and Calen Addison, while the unrestricted free agents are Brandon Duhaime, Pat Maroon, Alex Goligoski, and Marc-Andre Fleury. — Russo

Impact on Wild Prospects

By securing Hartman on a three-year deal, the Wild have filled another top-six center spot, creating a crowded position. Kaprizov, Zuccarello, Eriksson Ek, and Matt Boldy are all locked in for the next several years. The team is hopeful that Marco Rossi will develop into a top-tier center as well. Consequently, Hartman may be relegated to the third-line center or right-wing positions, where Freddy Gaudreau currently plays. Gaudreau has a five-year deal. With Marcus Foligno recently signing for five more years, the Wild have essentially solidified their top-nine forwards, barring the second-line left wing position, which Marcus Johansson occupies for the next two years. This leaves fewer opportunities for prospects like Sammy Walker and Adam Beckman. While Liam Ohgren, Marat Khusnutdinov, and Danila Yurov are set to join the North American leagues next summer, they will likely require AHL seasoning. The Wild are taking a more measured approach with their prospects, acknowledging their potential while recognizing the need for careful development. As they are not in a rebuilding phase, they are placing their bets on the core in order to build the strongest team possible. – Russo and Joe Smith, NHL and Wild senior writers

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(Photo: Charles LeClaire / USA Today)


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