In addition to forward Thomas Vanek, the Minnesota Wild has signed three more players on the opening day of free agency.
The Wild has signed defenseman Stu Bickel to a one-year, two-way contract; forward Brett Sutter to a two-year, two-way contract; and Guillaume Gelinas to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Bickel, 27, collected eight points (1-7=8) and 85 penalty minutes (PIM) in 24 games with the Harford Wolf Pack in the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2013-14. The 6-foot-4, 207-pound native of Chanhassen, Minn., appeared in 67 games with the New York Rangers from 2011-13 and recorded nine assists and 157 PIM. He also skated in 18 playoff games with the Rangers in 2011-12. Bickel played one season at the University of Minnesota in 2007-08 and notched seven points (1-6=7) and 92 PIM.
Sutter, 27, collected two points (1-1=2) in 17 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and tallied 44 points (15-29=44) in 62 games with the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League (AHL) during the 2013-14 campaign. He ranked fourth on the Checkers in scoring and served as captain of the team the last three seasons. The 6-foot, 200-pound native of Viking, Alta., has collected seven points (2-5=7) and 36 penalty minutes (PIM) in 54 career NHL games with Calgary and Carolina. He was originally selected by Calgary in the sixth round (179th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Gelinas, 21, earned the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the top defenseman in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in 2013-14 after totaling 92 points (23-69=92) and a plus-24 rating in 67 regular-season games with Val-d’Or. The native of Quebec City, Que., ranked seventh in the league and led all defensemen in scoring, totaling seven goals and 18 points more than any other blueliner during the regular season. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensemen helped the Foreurs win the President’s Cup as QMJHL Playoff Champions, totaling 34 points (11-23=34) and a plus-11 rating in 24 playoff contests – seven goals and 10 points more than any other defenseman in the playoffs.
“Guillaume completed his junior career by having a tremendous season in the QMJHL,” said Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr. “We are excited that he is joining the Wild organization and look forward to watching him work his way up the pro ranks.”
In parts of five seasons (2009-14) with Val-d’Or, Gelinas totaled 193 points (43-150=193) in 275 regular-season games. The blueliner totaled 38 points (13-25=38) in 38 games during four postseasons with the Foreurs (2011-14).