ST PAUL, Minn. — And then... there was one.
The Minnesota Wild announced Sunday that speedy, hard-nosed winger Brandon Duhaime has agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal that will keep him in the fold for 2023-24, leaving just one major cog in the forecasted 2023-24 lineup unsigned.
While showing some scoring flair and a well-rounded skill set, Duhaime also plays the physical, grinding style favored by GM Bill Guerin. He put up just 10 points in 51 games last season (9 goals, 1 assist) with 42 penalty minutes. Duhaime was a solid penalty killer, especially after the loss of Mason Shaw to a knee injury, but had trouble staying healthy himself and missed 31 games.
A native of Parkland, Fla., Duhaime was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
The signing of Duhaime, who was a restricted free agent eligible for arbitration, leaves goaltender Filip Gustavsson as the only projected member of the Wild's 2023-24 lineup without a contract. Gustavsson had a breakout season after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators, going 22-9 in 39 games played (37 started). The 25-year-old had a 2.10 Goals Against Average, and a .931 Save Percentage, both among the best in the NHL.
Minnesota is working to sign Gustavsson to a longer-term deal but the team is hampered by a salary cap situation made dire by "dead money" involved in the buyouts of both Zac Parise and Ryan Suter. The two players, who were each jettisoned with four years remaining on historic 10-year contracts signed back in 2012, will cost the Wild more than $14 million in cap space over the next two seasons, severely hampering Guerin's ability to upgrade the lineup.
The Athletic's Joe Smith is reporting that an arbitration hearing for Gustavsson is set for Aug. 4.
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