I'm kind of tired of DR and his company. Our drafts have kind of sucked. We're most likely going to lose Gaborik. And he signed Bouchard to that ridiculous one-year contract. If we have any hold-outs this year and if we don't get enough back in return for Gaborik, I say we fire him and bring in a whole new crew. Kind of like the Vikings. Playoffs be damned, I rather see the future of this organization kept together than playoffs.
As Eric Idle once sang [tee dum, tee dum] "Always look on the bright side of life ... "
Gaborik, Wild in no hurry to begin contract discussions
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Marian Gaborik and the Minnesota Wild haven't been talking about a new contract and won't do so until next month.
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM G A PTS +/- PIM
65 38 28 66 6 64
The silence doesn't exactly suggest promise toward an agreement with the restricted free-agent right winger. But neither side is expressing any anxiety, either, and there is still more than a calendar year until the Slovakian star can hit the free market.
After some negotiations last month, the Wild told Gaborik's agent, Ron Salcer, that they want to wait until after July 1 to resume discussions.
"They asked to put things on hold, and that's OK with us," Salcer said.
Gaborik will file for salary arbitration next month, and hearings are held between July 20 and Aug. 4. If they can't work out a deal by then, Gaborik will take a one-year contract into the 2006-07 season.
What gives Gaborik more leverage is the new collective bargaining agreement, which next summer will allow a player with seven accrued seasons to become an unrestricted free agent. Gaborik, now 24, will be one of the youngest prolific players to gain unrestricted free agency, since the old system required longer service time and older ages to reach that status.
"There has never been such a dynamic player who has ever been an unrestricted free agent at that age," Salcer said.
The Wild have been diplomatic on the subject, at least publicly. President and general manager Doug Risebrough said the team wants to wait until more players of similar accomplishment and tenure start getting deals done, whether through multiyear contracts or arbitration awards. The league's salary cap will also be set on July 1, the day this year's free-agent signing period begins.
"We're just trying to figure out, what is that number?" Risebrough said. "Ultimately I think he's got a big decision to make. We know that. He has to be comfortable with that decision, and if that takes time we'll just wait."
Salcer's comments contradicted that.
"They are certainly aware of what it will take to make Marian Gaborik a longtime member of the Minnesota Wild," the agent said.
Though neither side divulged specifics, Gaborik, based on market values and media reports, is believed to be seeking a multiyear contract worth more than $5 million annually. He was Minnesota's highest-paid player last season at $2.679 million.
Gaborik is coming off the most productive season of his career, in which he scored 38 goals and tallied 66 points in only 65 games after missing some early time to groin and hip problems. An All-Star in 2003 and the youngest player ever to skate in that game, Gaborik had 30 goals and 65 points and helped lead the Wild to the Western Conference finals that spring.
Injuries and inconsistency, however, have kept him from reaching a higher level. Coach Jacques Lemaire has had trouble in the past getting Gaborik to play hard on both ends, and last season he remained wary of giving Gaborik too many minutes -- which Gaborik disagreed with.
There were also the contentious contract talks that prompted him to hold out for the first month of the season in 2003, dump his agents and hire Salcer instead.
Yes, there have been plenty of noteworthy moments in the career of the Wild's first draft pick and their all-time leading scorer.
If a long-term deal isn't worked out by today, Wild right winger Marian Gaborik could elect to file for salary arbitration.
If he files, a hearing will be scheduled in Toronto sometime between July 20 and Aug. 4.
"I'd say we're expecting him to file," Wild assistant General Manager Tom Lynn said. "We've expected that for two years. It's not something that's a big deal because we can negotiate [a long-term deal until the hearing]."
If Gaborik goes through with arbitration, he would be awarded a one-year deal that could put him on the path to becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
"I'm not ready to disclose yet whether we'll file," agent Ron Salcer said.
But Salcer concurred with Lynn, saying, "If something doesn't get done, filing doesn't preclude the fact we can still talk."
The 24-year-old Gaborik, who made $2.679 million last season, scored a career-high 38 goals, his third 30-goal season.
Star winger thinks the team is moving in the right direction.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune
Last update: July 03, 2006 – 12:11 AM
Marian Gaborik woke up in Trencin, Slovakia, on Sunday morning and immediately jumped on the Internet to see what, or rather, whether the Wild did anything on the opening day of free agency.
Imagine Gaborik's surprise when he discovered the Wild was one of the NHL's most active teams by dishing out $37 million in long-term deals to defensemen Kim Johnsson and Keith Carney and goal-scorer Mark Parrish.
"I just got done reading the articles. It's been six years, and ... it's surprising, you know?" Gaborik said in a telephone interview.
"Nobody could expect this," Gaborik continued. "For five or six years I've been here, stuff like that never happens with the Wild. This is something new. I'm glad they stepped up, and I believe it's going to work well for us."
Gaborik said the additions, which were made one week after the Wild traded for his close friend, talented centerman Pavol Demitra, reinforced in his mind that signing long-term is something to consider.
Gaborik, whom Parrish called Sunday the "only missing piece to the puzzle," is a restricted free agent who can opt for arbitration by Wednesday. Even if he chooses that route, the Wild could continue to try to negotiate a long-term deal with him until his arbitration hearing, which would be scheduled for later this month.
If he goes through with arbitration, he'd be awarded a one-year deal, which is risky for the team because he then could become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Assistant GM Tom Lynn plans to speak with agent Ron Salcer this week.
"We have to negotiate," said Gaborik, who's already rejected a five-year deal worth $5.5 million a season. "I'm not signed yet, but it's good to see them do these moves. It's good for the team, and also they're showing they want to win. That's important for every guy in the room and every fan in the building to know that, and especially for me. I'm glad, and obviously this can only help."
There's no doubt the morale has been boosted among Wild players.
Center Todd White has been elated with the additions and anxiously anticipates an enthusiastic training camp.
"It's sometimes disheartening when other teams are making moves and you're just kind of standing pat or even losing guys," said White, who scored 19 goals before a broken leg prematurely ended his first season with the Wild. "So it's real exciting to have new blood coming into the locker room. Everyone will be striving for the same goal."
After playing four seasons in Ottawa, White, 31, wasn't used to watching the playoffs on TV.
"Just seeing the playoffs, it makes you want to win so bad," he said.
Gaborik, who last week raved about the additions of Demitra and defenseman Petteri Nummelin, feels the playoffs are on the horizon.
"Johnsson is a very good defenseman and a great offensive defenseman, too, so it's something we really needed," Gaborik said. "Carney is an experienced guy that I really respect because he's hard to play against, and Parrish, he's so good in front of the net and on the power play.
"I just talked to [Demitra] about him, and he's very excited to play with him again. I'm excited, too. This ... this was good."