More Patrik Laine! Finland gives us what we want with World Cup roster

Patrik Laine (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)

Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.

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Wild ink Hungarian goaltender Vay after impressive showing at World Championship

Jared Clinton
Adam Vay (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

Adam Vay hasn’t played a single game in a North American league since the 2014-15 season when he appeared in 41 games for the Western States Hockey League’s El Paso Rhinos. But the 22-year-old undrafted netminder has found his way to an NHL deal thanks to a three-game performance at the 2016 World Championship.

The Minnesota Wild announced they have signed Vay to a two-year, entry-level deal that could bring him over to the organization as early as next season. In three games at the World Championship for Hungary, Vay’s numbers weren’t exactly earth-shattering, but his ability to fend off constant attacks from top-flight opponents such as Finland, USA and Canada had him piquing the interest of some onlookers.

All told, he posted a .911 save percentage and 3.67 goals-against average at the tournament, but his 48-save performance against the Finns and 35 stops against the Americans were impressive feats. That’s not to mention he stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced against the Canadians. Read more

Babcock, Boudreau and Tippett prove NHL coaches should be all for salary disclosure

Bruce Boudreau (Getty Images)

The recent spate of coach signings has revealed two very clear notions. The first is that, as was the case with the players more than two decades ago, full salary disclosure would do wonders for the salaries of the 30 men behind NHL benches. The second is that all coaches and would-be NHL coaches should send Mike Babcock a Thank You card and box of chocolates.

The Minnesota Wild unveiled Bruce Boudreau as their new coach Tuesday afternoon and are paying him somewhere in the range of $3 million a year. This is the same Bruce Boudreau who was just fired in Anaheim, whose teams have won just five playoff rounds in nine years and can’t seem to win a Game 7 to save their lives. Dave Tippett, who hasn’t been involved in a playoff game in four years, won an organizational power struggle with GM Don Maloney and was rewarded with more responsibility as the executive vice president of the hockey department and a new five-year deal worth $4 million a season.

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Minnesota Wild announce hiring of coach Bruce Boudreau

Jared Clinton
Bruce Boudreau. (Getty Images)

Eight days. It took a total of eight days for Bruce Boudreau to find his next NHL coaching gig after his firing from the Anaheim Ducks.

The Minnesota Wild announced Saturday evening that they’ve agreed to terms with Boudreau to become the club’s new bench boss. No terms of the contract have been released, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the contract is expected to be a four-year deal worth a reported $12 million. Boudreau’s hiring will end the tenure of interim coach John Torchetti, who took over behind the Wild bench on Feb. 13. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo, Boudreau will be introduced as the coach on Tuesday.

Under Torchetti, the Wild went 15-11-1, but stumbled into the post-season. Minnesota lost their final five games before the playoffs and their stay in the post-season didn’t last long, losing in six games to the Central Division champion Dallas Stars. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Why the Rangers should target Kevin Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

It’s been over a week since the New York Rangers were eliminated from the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. That hasn’t dampened the speculation over their off-season roster plans.

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News believes the Rangers should find a replacement for pending UFA defenseman Keith Yandle via the trade market. He suggests they offer up left winger Rick Nash to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Nash is signed through 2017-18 at an annual cap hit of $7.8 million. Shattenkirk, meanwhile, has only only one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.25 million. He’ll be eligible next summer for UFA status and could be too expensive to re-sign. This suggested trade would reunite Nash with Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who Leonard thinks might get a contract extension. Shattenkirk, meanwhile, could play top-two minutes and thus push Dan Girardi into a secondary role.

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Rumor Roundup: Buyouts could be coming for Wild, Flyers after first-round exit

Thomas Vanek (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

As more NHL teams become first-round casualties of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, the more speculation grows over their offseason moves.

After yet another roller coaster season for the Minnesota Wild ended in an early playoff exit, GM Chuck Fletcher faces some tough decisions. The biggest, of course, is deciding if interim head coach John Torchetti returns on a full-time basis. After that, Fletcher could shake up his inconsistent, under-performing roster.

With only around $12 million in available salary-cap room for 2016-17, it’s expected the Wild GM will buy out the remaining season of disappointing left wing Thomas Vanek. The 31-year-old is owed $7.5 million in actual salary, though the cap hit is $6.5 million. Read more

Crossbar camera shows Wild were fractions of an inch from late game-tying goal

Jared Clinton
Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 1.11.26 AM

The NHL installed crossbar-mounted cameras before the post-season began, and Game 6 of the first-round series between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild made it clear exactly why the cameras were a necessary addition.

After the Stars took a 4-0 lead heading into the third period, the Wild clawed back to make the contest 4-3. Dallas pulled ahead shortly thereafter thanks to a fortunate bounce that resulted in their fifth goal, but Jason Pominville’s marker with less than five minutes remaining brought the Wild within one to set up a frantic finish. And in the final minute, Minnesota came a mere fraction of an inch from forcing overtime.

With the Wild net empty and Minnesota pressuring the Stars, the puck was worked below the goal line and back out front where Nino Niederreiter knocked the puck into the pad of netminder Kari Lehtonen. At first, it appeared the puck came nowhere close to crossing the goal. However, the play was reviewed and showed the difference between the Wild tying the contest and falling one goal short of knotting the score was less than half an inch: Read more

Unmatched offense helps Stars advance, but defensive issues need to be cleared up

Jared Clinton
The Stars celebrate Alex Goligoski's goal (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

When the Dallas Stars took a 4-0 lead into the third period of an elimination game, it looked like the Minnesota Wild were going to be booed off the ice in their final game of the season.

But this is the run-and-gun, don’t-look-away Stars that have been one of the most exciting teams in the league this season for reasons both good and bad. Dallas’ goaltending has been unreliable all season and their defense, while improved, has still shown it needs some work before they become the type of two-way squad that can win by smothering the opposition defensively or blowing opponents away with their high-powered offense. And in Game 6 — a game which the Stars hung on to win 5-4 to eliminate the Wild — Dallas showed both sides of their game.

After taking a 4-0 lead to the second intermission, Dallas began to fall apart after an unnecessary penalty by winger Antoine Roussel. Minnesota blueliner Jared Spurgeon stuffed a puck home on the power play and 16 seconds later Jonas Brodin scored to bring the Wild within two. Minutes later, Spurgeon scored on another Wild power play to bring the home side within one: Read more