Minnesota Wild Nearing Extension With 3rd Key Player In Past Week

It's been a busy week for the Minnesota Wild. After handing out extensions to both Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno on Friday, GM Bill Guerin has made it clear that their next goal is to have veteran forward Ryan Hartman sign on the dotted line.

They’re currently in talks, says Guerin, and it’s “heading that way... He’s an identity player for us.”

Hartman, in fact, re-made his identity two seasons ago in Minnesota, when he exploded into a 34-goal and 65-point scorer, more than doubling any of his previous point totals in his then-8-year career. He also finished with a robust plus-31 rating.

The 29-year-old struggled a bit with injuries and even some healthy scratches as his season got off to a slow start last year, but he finished strong with 10 goals and 23 points in the Wild's final 33 games, for totals of 15 goals and 37 points in 59 games. That's still a decent .63 points per game rate.

Hartman has been on an extremely team-friendly contract, heading into the final year of a $1.7M cap hit. The Wild will have to come up considerably on that to get this extension done, but it sounds like it's close to fruition.

"We’ll continue to talk to Hartzy," said Guerin, "and whether it’s today, tomorrow or a week from now, hopefully we can get it done and keep Ryan here.”

If Hartman is back centering the top line with Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov once again, expect another solid season. 

Photo:  Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports