On the eve of NHL free agency, the Wild made a big trade by sending Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forwards Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno.
Here's a look at where it leaves the wild heading into the key offseason spending period.
What's the cap situation?
Minnesota cleared some cap space – the team has about $18 million now, including the $4.5 million Ennis will be paid.
But Foligno joins Nino Nieddereiter and Mikael Granlund as a restricted free agent. Both Niederreiter and Granlund will make somewhere near $5 million apiece, while Folingo will earn $3-4 million.
After taking all that into account, the Wild will have roughly $3-4 million in cap space for this free agency period (but also cleared out the long-term contracts of Pominville and Scandella that would impact future seasons).
With limited cap space, it's unlikely the Wild make a splash with a top-six forward in this year's free agency. Instead, they will likely supplement an offense that scored the second-most goals during the regular season.
They could try to convince Minnesota native Matt Cullen – who just won his third Stanley Cup – to stay out of retirement. He showed he's a productive player even at 40 years old. Brian Boyle and Justin Williams could be targets too.
The Wild could also keep things in-house as they have a core of prospects knocking on the door. Joel Eriksson Ek showed promise last season, and on the blue line, Mike Reilly and Gustav Olofsson are ready for bigger roles.
Reasons to be optimistic
It's a bit of a tough pill to swallow after Minnesota was bounced in the first round, but at the same time players like Granlund, Niederreiter, Zucker and Coyle had career seasons.
Ennis could join that list, and Foligno provides a physical boost – which was something the Wild significantly lacked last season.
Only the Pittsburgh Penguins – who won the Stanley Cup – scored more goals in the regular season than the Wild. Minnesota's offense doesn't necessarily need fixing. They just need someone to elevate to superstar status, and there are candidates ready to make that jump.