Two years ago the Minnesota Wild stunned the hockey world by landing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the two biggest free agents on the market. It seems that they're looking to make another big splash this summer as well.
According to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune, the Wild have already reached out to the agents for defensemen Matt Niskanen and Willie Mitchell and forwards Thomas Vanek and Paul Stastny. In other words: Pretty much every major player that's set to hit the open market on July 1.
Minnesota hasn't been shy about spending big money on established players, going all in with Parise and Suter and then acquiring Jason Pominville at the 2013 trade deadline. Whether or not the strategy results in a championship level team is up for debate. The Wild have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons as a lower seed in the Western Conference, but they may have topped out at that level because they're paying so much money to players that have already played their best hockey for somebody else.
Going on a spending spree with this year's crop of free agents would be more of the same.
Niskanen, perhaps the top defenseman to hit the market, is from Minnesota and played his college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth. He is coming off a career year for the Pittsburgh Penguins that no doubt sent his value through the roof.
Vanek scored 27 goals in 78 games this past season for the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.