The Minnesota Wild have locked in forward Nino Niederreiter with a five-year contract worth $26.25 million, the club announced Sunday.
The deal carries an average annual value of $5.25 million.
Niederreiter is coming off a career-best season in 2016-2017. He posted 25 goals and hit a total of 57 points with the Wild, marking the third season in a row in which he reached 20 points.
Niederreiter had filed for salary arbitration and was scheduled for a Thursday hearing, but the contract settles that matter. Minnesota was hoping to ink him to something before arbitration and seems to have received a quality return on investment.
Niederreiter was previously signed to a three-year contract that was inked in September of 2014 and shelled out $2.67 million a season, so this is a significant upgrade. Of course, the 24-year-old has shown himself as a potential top six forward with the Wild and has proven his value at both ends of the ice.
Minnesota acquired Niederreiter in a trade with the New York Islanders after the 2012-2013 NHL lockout. He received more ice time with the Wild and found himself in and out of the top six, which bolstered his production.
The goal now is for Niederreiter’s contract to start paying dividends. Minnesota wants him ensconced as a permanent top six guy and the Swiss winger seems more than up for the task.
Structurally, the contract is pretty elementary. It does include some lockout protection for the Wild in that it tapers in 2020-2021 to a base salary of $4.25 million before jumping to $5.475 million in the final year.
Minnesota now has two players unsigned. Mikael Granlund has a salary arbitration hearing set for Friday, so don’t be surprised if we see a deal signed in the early days of this week. And Marcus Foligno has yet to sign, as well.
The Wild have approximately $10.5 million in available cap space to work with, which effectively ballparks the contracts to the two 25-year-olds. Granlund scored 26 goals in 2016-2017 and is in line for a significant raise on his two-year deal worth $6 million, while Foligno is fresh from a 16-goal campaign with the Buffalo Sabres and earned $2.25 million last year.