Barring some major trades -- and those could still be coming -- the Minnesota Wild will have the cap space to make those "tweaks" new general manager Paul Fenton mentioned during his introductory press conference when free agency opens Sunday.
All told, the Wild should have about $17 million to spend with the salary cap rising to $79.5 million, giving Fenton a little room to work.
Don't get too excited though.
Defenseman Matt Dumba and forward Jason Zucker are restricted free agents coming off career seasons and due substantial raises. The Wild can shed a little salary by buying out forward Tyler Ennis, who is under contract through next season at $4.6 million against the cap. That number goes down to $2.16 million next year with a buyout, but the Wild would be on the hook for a $1.216 million cap hit in 2019-20.
The market is unlikely to heat up until superstar center John Tavares decides on his destination, while winger James van Riemsdyk could be another major domino for the free-agent market.
But while the Wild won't be chasing the biggest names on the market, they should have the money to add a bit more scoring, another viable defenseman, or both.
Check out a few sensible options below:
The 32-year-old Bozak has spent his entire career with the Maple Leafs, who may not be able to afford the solid center if they intend to chase Tavares. He could slot in on the second line behind Eric Staal.
The 30-year-old winger finished with 27 goals last year to rank third among potential unrestricted free agents. However, a disastrous turn with the New Jersey Devils could drive the price down. Grabner had just two for New Jersey in the final 21 games of last season.
If the Wild aren't yet sold on young lefties Carson Soucy and Nick Seeler, Hamhuis could represent a solid option on their third defensive pairing. With slim pickings on the blue line, the 35-year-old will be in demand after missing a total of just five games the last two seasons in Dallas.
Neal is a lefty, but the veteran scorer could be just what the Wild need after their offense sputtered in the playoffs. A three-time All-Star, Neal had a career-high 11 postseason points during the Vegas Golden
Knights' run to the Stanley Cup Final. The 30-year-old winger keeps himself in great shape and leads on and off the ice.
The 30-year-old winger picked a good time to have a career year, registering 50 assists and 66 points with the Vegas Golden Knights. He added nine points during their postseason run, and would give the Wild a quality right-handed winger to work with. Of the Wild's forwards last season, only Charlie Coyle, Daniel Winnik and Luke Kunin are right-handed.
Speaking of right-handed wingers … Wild fans are plenty familiar with Vanek, who underwhelmed in two seasons with Minnesota and was eventually bought out. All that aside, Vanek has still got it. The 34-year-old is coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons despite playing for four teams over the past two years.