Even though members of the Wild front office have booked flights to Toronto for next week’s salary arbitration hearings for Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, the Wild still hopes to sign the restricted free agents to contracts ranging in length from three to five years. General Manager Chuck Fletcher believes if settlements can be reached with either player, it would occur “at the 11th hour.” “We’ll keep plodding along,” Fletcher said. “Everyone’s working hard, we’ve had good dialogue, but obviously we haven’t gotten to the finish line yet. If you look around the league, negotiations tend to go right down to the arbitration day or the day before or the day after the hearing sometimes even. “Nothing prods progress more than a deadline.” Niederreiter’s hearing is slated for August 3, Granlund’s August 4. Assistant GM Shep Harder is the frontman negotiating each contract, including recently acquired Marcus Foligno, who didn’t file for arbitration. If no contract is reached with Niederreiter or Granlund, the sides will exchange briefs 48 hours before the arbitration hearings — August 1 and 2, respectively — with salary proposals. The Wild will choose the length of a potential arbitration award — one or two years. Through Wednesday, the arbitrator hasn’t had to render a single NHL verdict. Sixteen settlements were reached before briefs being exchanged. Eight others were reached after briefs were exchanged, with two — Detroit’s Tomas Tatar and Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson — coming after a hearing but before the arbitrator’s verdict 48 hours later. “I would expect these would be similar,” Fletcher said. “Hopefully we can find a solution on a long-term basis, and if not, we always have the hearing to fall back on and we can revisit it in a year or so.” Niederreiter, Granlund and Foligno can be signed to contracts up to a maximum eight years, but the Wild hasn’t talked to the players about contracts longer than five.
Wild's Granlund, Niederreiter seeking deals north of $6M annually
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jul 27