While the situation involving Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper is very uncertain at this point, it appears the team is close to signing one of its young forwards to a contract.
While Kuemper's agent said Monday that the Wild goalie is considering an opportunity in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, the agent for Nino Niederreiter says the forward has turned down an offer from the KHL.
Niederreiter is one of the Wild's two remaining unsigned restricted free agents. His agent Andre Rufener said in an e-mail to the Pioneer Press the two sides hope to have a deal in place before camp opens on Sept. 18.
Niederreiter scored 14 goals last season for the Wild after coming to Minnesota in a trade that sent Cal Clutterbuck to the Islanders.
He played a big role during Minnesota's Game 7 victory over Colorado in the first round of last season's NHL playoffs. Niederreiter finished the game with two goals and an assist – including the series-clinching goal in overtime.
According to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo, Rufener said Niederreiter is "a Wild at heart."
Russo reports Rufener and Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher have exchanged a plethora of contract ideas ranging in length from two to six years.
"We have to take a look into this," Rufener said. "It's interesting and it's a possibility. At this point, it's not clear yet. Terms are not clear yet. There's still several options. We're working on it and Chuck tells me, too, that it's in our best interest to get this done in the next week, by next Wednesday. That's what we want to do."
Russo notes that Fletcher wouldn't comment on negotiations for either Kuemper and Niederreiter on Monday. He has previously indicated it's important to get Niederreiter's deal correct, with the contracts of several of the team's young players expiring next summer – including Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin and Erik Haula.