"A No-Brainer": Minnesota Wild Center Signs Big Extension

There are good days, and then there are great days. For Minnesota Wild center Freddy Gaudreau, Thursday qualifies as one of the latter. While he was out on the ice potting a pair of goals, in the middle of the game, the team announced that they've extended him with a rich new contract. 

It's a 5-year, $10.5M deal for Gaudreau, $2.1M AAV, with a partial no-trade clause (15-team). 

Gaudreau was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, but he's apparently quite happy with his new home in Minnesota. 

“My heart is here,” Gaudreau said. “It felt like home the first day I got to Minnesota (in 2021), so it was a no-brainer, and more than that I believe in this group big-time. That’s really important to me. We have such a solid group. I believe in the culture. It’s good people first and then good players.”

He celebrated the new deal by scoring his 18th and 19th goals, a new career high for the 29-year-old. In fact, the 19 he's registered this year equal his total for his first five seasons in the NHL combined. 

He played all 82 games for the Wild this year, and has established himself as a core piece moving forward. 

The strange way the announcement played out, in the middle of a game, made for a weird conversation with his teammate after the first period.

“I was just walking in the hallway after the first, and Connor Dewar said, ‘Congratulations,’” Gaudreau said. “And I just scored, so I was like, ‘Oh, what are you talking about?’ I didn’t know it was out. … He told me, ‘Yeah, it’s out.’”

Yes, the word is out: Freddy Gaudreau is a Minnesota Wild for some time to come.

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports