Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is scheduled to meet face-to-face with pending unrestricted free agent goalie Devan Dubnyk in Las Vegas next week, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Dubnyk will be attending the 2015 NHL Awards on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN). He is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the League's top goaltender, and the Masterton Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Fletcher will also be in Las Vegas for League meetings before flying to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the 2015 NHL Draft, where he will meet with Dubnyk's agent, Mike Liut, with hopes of re-signing the goaltender.
Dubnyk can become a free agent July 1.
"Mike's not going to be in Vegas. So if Mike's going to be in Florida, my sense is I should get to Florida," Fletcher told the Star-Tribune. "We need to resolve our goaltending situation. We haven't made any secret of the fact that we would like Devan to be the guy who comes back.
"Like any pending unrestricted free agent, Devan controls the process completely. We can offer what we can offer, but ultimately he'll decide what he wants to do. We respect that. He's earned that right."
Dubnyk was acquired by the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15 for a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. The Wild were eight points out of the second wild-card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference before Dubnyk started a record 38 straight games, going 27-9-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage, and five shutouts. Minnesota reached the Western Conference Second Round, where it was swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
If Dubnyk remains unsigned by the first round of the 2015 draft Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports) in Sunrise, Fla., Fletcher could acquire a goalie. The Wild could also to speak to pending free agents Antti Niemi (San Jose Sharks) or Karri Ramo (Calgary Flames).
"Our intention is to have two goaltenders next year," Fletcher said. "The longer it goes you don’t have a deal, the more aggressively you have to look at options. There are free agents, and at the draft, lots of trades transpire.
"But I don't want to get into all these what-ifs. Our focus right now is trying to get a deal done with Devan. Our top preference is to keep him here. We’d love to stabilize that position, and we’re confident he’s the guy that can do that for us."
Dubnyk, 29, is seeking a long-term deal north of $5 million per season, according to the Tribune, with the Wild willing to go to the $4 million range. Fletcher was able to free an extra $2 million Thursday after buying out forward Matt Cooke in hopes of re-signing Dubnyk and pending restricted free agent forwards Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, and defenseman Christian Folin.
Fletcher will meet with Granlund's agent next week, according to the Star-Tribune.
"We're not far off," Fletcher said.
"We can only do what we feel is right, what’s best for us. We like our team. That’s the key word in all of this. We have a good group of players. We feel that one of our strengths is our depth. But with the cap not going up at the growth expected and our [contract commitments], there’s a certain place we probably need to be [with our No. 1 goaltender] to continue to make this work -- price wise and term wise.
"Things change so quickly that we have to make sure we have flexibility to continue to address needs and try to upgrade."
The Wild also have goalies Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom on the roster. Backstrom had elbow surgery after the regular season and carries a $3.4 million NHL salary cap charge. If he's not medically cleared to play, the Wild cannot buy out his contract.
"He's rehabbing. He's getting healthier, and at this point he's under contract for next year," Fletcher said. "We'll just have to continue to work with his agent to find a solution."