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Minnesota Wild 2014 free agent analysis: Jason Zucker

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The Minnesota Wild have few roster spots with the emergence of their young stars. However, a few players still need to supplement the roster. The Wild enter the offseason with 14 unrestricted free agents and eight restricted free agents.

Here is restricted free agent forward Jason Zucker.

2013-14 Team(s): Minnesota Wild (NHL), Iowa Wild (AHL)

2013-14 Statistics: 21 games played, 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points, plus-2 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 1 power play goal, 1 game-winning goal, 40 shots on goal (Minnesota); 22 games played, 8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points, minus-8 rating, 55 penalty minutes, 4 power play goals, 80 shots on goal (Iowa)

Qualifying Offer: $850,500

Outlook: Zucker finished last season on the injured list after having surgery during the Olympic break. The surgery was considered minor and should have been a quick recovery. However, he was still on crutches late in the season and missed the playoffs.

The question now is how quickly he regain his speed and acceleration. He complements his speed with a good shot to score goals. He has the ability to get himself into position to score goals. He is still developing his shift-to-shift consistency and overall defensive game, but is one of the better pure offensive players on the team.

He had his best professional season for the Houston Aeros in the 2012-13 season with 24 goals and 26 points in 55 games. He earned several call-ups to the Wild and score four goals in the regular season before recording a goal and an assist in their five-game playoff series loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, including an overtime goal in Game 3.

Zucker should get a qualifying offer from the Wild, but a multi-year deal is a better option for the team.

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