Joel Eriksson Ek, Wild Agree to 8-year, $42M Contract; 1st Max Deal in MIN History

Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Minnesota Wild completed a major task by signing center Joel Eriksson Ek, a eight-year, $42million deal that runs through the 2028-1929 season.Eriksson Ek just finished a record season, scoring 19 goals and providing 11 assists. After his age 24, Eriksson Ek was eligible to be a restricted-free agent.The 2020-21 season saw the Wild finish third in the West with 35-16-5 (75 point) before the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated them in the first round.Eriksson Ek was a key player in Minnesota's success and finished fourth in the voting for the Selke Trophy, the league's best defensive forward. According to Michael Russo, The Athletic, Eriksson Ek will earn an AAV value of $5.25million and have a modified 10-team no-trade clause. This clause kicks in during the fourth year of the extension.After Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, it's the second-longest franchise contract after Ryan Suter signed matching 13 year deals worth $98 million in 2012.Eriksson Ek's deal is as Wild workers on new contracts for restricted-free agents Kevin Fiala, and Kirill Kaprizov, the reigning Rookies of the Year.Per RussoWhile the Wild are trying to extend Kirill Kaprizov's contract, they have not yet reached an agreement. He is seeking a temporary deal, while the Wild prefer to sign him for a long-term. The possibility exists that the KHL could try to bring him back. However, GM Bill Guerin tried to diffuse the situation last week.Guerin said to Russo that any talk of Kaprizov's return to the KHL was "new to me", and insisted that he isn't worried about getting a deal.We love Kirill and want him to sign. These things can take time, we understand that. However, patience is key. You have to keep going forward, be open-minded, and be patient. Guerin stated that these things don't happen overnight. It was something I experienced as a manager and as a player. Nothing has gone cold for me. My doors are always open and my phone is always on. We just have to keep at it. Kirills agent must feel the same."Minnesota went into the offseason with three franchise foundations in flux. Eriksson Ek's deal has resolved at least one of these situations. There is no timetable for resolution of the other two.