Report: Wild making 'biggest pitch' for Wayne Simmonds

Simmonds is a power play specialist.
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With NHL Free Agency opening five days from now – July 1 – the Wild are reportedly engaging in conversations with free agents.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported in his weekly 31 Thoughts Column that Minnesota is in on free agent winger Wayne Simmonds

"A couple clubs suspect Minnesota will make the biggest pitch for Simmonds, but there’s plenty of interest," said Friedman.

Simmonds, who turns 31 in August, is a power-play specialist who split time between Philadelphia and Nashville last season. 

In 79 games, Simmonds had a down season scoring just 17 goals and 30 points, which was his least productive season since 2011. But from 2013-2018, he averaged 28 goals, including 8 via the power play per season. 

Simmonds, is also no-one to mess with, as he'll drop the gloves and stand up for any one of his teammates. He broke Eric Nystrom's cheekbone in a fight in 2010.

It's likely Simmonds would command a multi-year contract, probably north of $5 million per season

Both Pierre Lebrun and Michael Russo of The Athletic echoed what Friedman said and reported that Minnesota is one of the many teams in on Simmonds.

Russo reported the Wild's also in on Joe Pavelski, another veteran center, who turns 36 in August but still has plenty of production left. Pavelski's averaged 65 points (29 goals and 36 assists) over the past three seasons.

Even though the Wild have the money to go after Pavelski, it's unclear how much he would want to play on a team that missed the postseason, and is looking up at every team in their division.

There's been no connection with Minnesota native Anders Lee, who's reportedly meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild have more cap space than they've had in previous seasons – $19 million – but they'll have to lock up restricted-free agents Ryan Donato, Kevin Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek.

Related: NHL schedule has Wild starting season with brutal stretch of road games

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