In 64 games, Sheppard scored two goals and four assists, or one more goal and one more assist than rookie Casey Wellman got in 12 games.
I've gotten dozens and dozens of emails this season and especially in the last week saying when is it time to get rid of Sheppard.
I agree with one point fans are making: The Wild cannot waste another roster spot on Sheppard if he doesn't warrant one.
You can bet that will be conveyed to him in a clear, concise, brash way by Fletcher. Right now, the Wild plans to tender Sheppard a qualifying offer because the Wild's not good enough yet to just be dumping 21-year-old former first-round picks, and forwards at that.
Remember, his cap hit this year was $1.4 million only because potential bonuses on entry-level deals have to be worked into the cap. But performance bonuses don't exist on second contracts, so his salary is 850K. But that includes an $85,000 signing bonus, so his salary is actually $765,000. He'd get a 10-percent raise on that, so his QO would be $841,500. If they tender him the QO, it'll be a two-way deal with a $67,500 minor-league salary.
“At this point, I don’t see why we wouldn’t qualify him. He’s still a young player. It’s too early to get into what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do. There’s a lot of time. We have spent a lot of time kicking around ideas, preparing for the draft, free agency and looking for possible solutions to perceived problems. But until we begin fully breaking down the season, it’s premature to speculate on my part. Whatever plan we come up with for this summer, it only takes one phone call from a GM to send me down a different path. We’ll go through a thorough analysis of the season -- strengths and weaknesses and looking at why we weren’t successful on the road and inconsistent all around. But we’re a non-playoff team. As I’ve said, nobody should feel secure.”