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Wild Signs Seven On Day 1 of Free Agency

Improving organizational depth the focus for Minnesota on Saturday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild went about shoring up its organizational depth at all levels on the opening day of NHL Free Agency on Saturday, signing seven players to contracts, highlighted by defenseman Kyle Quincey.

The Wild also inked forwards Kyle Rau, Cal O'Reilly and Landon Ferraro, defensemen Ryan Murphy and Alex Grant and goaltender Niklas Svedberg to two-way deals.

Quincey, a veteran of 568 games, has 36 goals, 119 assists and 520 penalty minutes in parts of 12 seasons with five different NHL teams. He scored six goals and had nine assists in 83 games with the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets last season.

After Minnesota's trade with Buffalo on Friday, one that sent defenseman Marco Scandella to the Sabres, Quincey's signing represents an important depth addition for the NHL club. He is expected to compete with Murphy, Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly for ice time this season, while also serving as an additional mentor for the group.

"We thought it's be a good idea to add a veteran presence to that young group," said Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. "He's played a long time in the League. He can kill penalties, can play left side, right side, he competes, plays a heavy game."

Video: Fletcher on Free Agent Additions

Murphy, 24, was signed to a one-year, two-way contract. A first-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2011 NHL Draft, Murphy tallied two assists in 27 games with the Hurricanes and one assist in seven contests with the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League last season. He has six goals among 37 points in 151 career NHL games during five seasons, all with Carolina (2012-17), and has collected 66 points, including 10 goals, in 89 career AHL contests with Charlotte.

"He was a dynamic junior hockey player, he was a star offensive defenseman," Fletcher said. "I can't speak to why it didn't work in Carolina, I don't think it'd be fair for me to comment on that. But the things he does well he still does well; he can carry the puck, he can still move it up the ice well, he can shoot it, he's effective on the power play. 

"A lot of times, you can lose your confidence in pro hockey. We've seen a lot of young players, that for whatever reason, don't have success right away, they lose their confidence, they lose their game a little bit and then you end up finding it. We'll try to help him get his confidence back."

Grant, 28, tallied 49 points (17-32=49) including six power-play goals, in 70 games with the AHL's Providence Bruins last season. A native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Grant ranked second amongst AHL defensemen in goals, tied for fifth in scoring and ninth in shots in goal with 181. He has a pair of goals in seven career NHL games with Anaheim and Arizona.

"Big, strong, shoots the puck a ton," said Wild VP of Hockey Operations Brent Flahr, who also serves as GM of the Iowa Wild. "Had a really good year in Providence last year ... but is capable of playing games [in the NHL] as well."

Rau, an All-American at the University of Minnesota in 2014, had three points (2-1=3) in 24 games with the Florida Panthers (NHL) last season, adding 24 points (10-14=24) in 48 games with Springfield (AHL). The 5-foot-8, 178-pound native of Eden Prairie also appeared in nine games with Florida in 2015-16, including his NHL debut on Feb. 20, 2016 against Winnipeg.

"Kyle is a very competitive kid. He always seems to find the puck, he's around the puck, he gets to the hard areas of the ice," Fletcher said. 

Ferraro, 25, has 11 points (6-5=11) in 75 career NHL contests with the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. He also skated in seven Stanley Cup playoff matches with Detroit in 2014-15. Ferraro has tallied 155 points (82-73=155) and 216 PIM in 292 career AHL contests with the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Chicago Wolves and owns 19 points (6-13=19) in 33 Calder Cup playoff matches.

"He's coming off a tough knee injury, but he's still a young player," Fletcher said. "Can shoot the puck, he's been a goal scorer his whole career. At the NHL level, he can also kill penalties, he competes, he works hard." 

O'Reilly, 30, recorded one assist in 11 games with the Buffalo Sabres and 50 points (9-41=50) in 62 games with the Rochester Americans and the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League (AHL) last season. In 144 career NHL contests during parts of six seasons with Nashville, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, O'Reilly has 16 goals and 49 points.

"He's been an elite AHL centerman for years," Flahr said. "We think, when he's down [in Iowa], he's going to be a point producer, a top-line centerman, but at the same time, he's capable of playing games and coming up and helping us [in Minnesota] if needed."

"Those three [forwards] in particular are all very good players in the American League, but are also guys who are capable of playing in the NHL," Fletcher said.

Svedberg, 27, posted a 14-17-12 record with a 2.99 goals-against average, a .897 save percentage and one shutout in 48 games with Salavat Yulaev in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2016-17. Svedberg has totaled an 8-5-1 record with a 2.31 goals against, a .920 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 career NHL games, played in parts of two seasons with Boston (2013-15). In 97 games with Providence from 2012-15, he posted a 65-24-6 record with a 2.40 goals against, a .917save percentage and six shutouts.

"We're taking a bit of a flier," Fletcher said. "He was an elite goaltender in the American Hockey League. He's a very experienced goaltender. He's played well at the NHL level and we're just trying to create as much depth at the NHL level as we can."

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