ST. PAUL — With the Stanley Cup playoffs still in full swing, Wild general manager Bill Guerin is building for the future.
His top priority this offseason was locking up Jonas Brodin, something he accomplished Tuesday, Sept. 15, when the Wild signed the 27-year-old defenseman to a seven-year, $42 million contract extension. The contracted carries an average annual value of $6 million and begins in the 2021-22 season.
“It was important in a lot of different ways,” Guerin said. “Most importantly because of who Jonas is and what he brings to our team as a person and as a player. I think right now with Jonas we have a top-end D corps. It was extremely important to get this done, and we’re extremely happy to have him locked in long term.”
Brodin was happy to stay with the Wild, the only organization the young Swede has played for is his eight-year NHL career.
“I was really excited when he told me they wanted to re-sign me,” Brodin said. “I was really happy. That’s a dream come true for me. It’s awesome to stay in the same place for so long a time.”
Since being drafted in the first round in 2011, Brodin joined the Wild at age 19 and has steadily proven himself to be among the best defensemen in the league. He finished with 28 points (two goals, 26 assists) the 2019-20 season and has 146 points (30 goals, 116 assists) for his career.
That said, Brodin’s biggest impact doesn’t show up in the stat sheet.
“The value in Jonas is his defensive play,” Guerin said. “He’s an elite defender, not just a good one. We put a premium on that, like putting the puck in the net. He’s one of those guys, when his name comes up in any discussions with coaches, with other GMs, he’s the type of guy that can defend the top players in the league, and there’s a premium for that.”
To say the Wild are set on the blue line would be putting it lightly. Aside from Brodin, they have now Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Matt Dumba signed for the foreseeable future.
“I’m really happy that it went by quick so I can stop thinking about all this and look forward to the next season,” Brodin said. “I’m super excited. I love Minnesota. I love everything about it: the fans, organization, teammates, coaches. I’m super happy. It feels like home.”
Now that Brodin is secured, Guerin will try to do the same for forwards Kevin Fiala and Marcus Foligno.
“We aren’t really down the road with those guys as much,” Guerin said. “They are guys that we’ve talked to and they are important pieces of our team. We’ll get there. But for us, with Jonas, he was first up.”