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 Tyler Cuma.
2013-14 Team(s): Iowa Wild (AHL)
2013-14 Statistics: 55 games played, 8 assists, 8 points, minus-20 rating, 47 penalty minutes, 51 shots on goal
Qualifying Offer: $632,500
Outlook: Things have not been easy for Cuma, who nearly made the Wild roster as an 18-year-old in 2008. He was one of the last cuts and returned to his Ottawa junior team.
That season came to screeching end when he suffered a major knee injury while trying out for Canada’s junior team. From that point on injuries have defined his career.
After a very good finish to his junior career in 2010, he got off to a good professional start for the then-Wild affiliate Houston Aeros, but a trip to St. Paul proved disastrous. The Aeros played a game at the Xcel Energy Center for the Wild’s fan base to get a glimpse of the future. However, a knee injury to Cuma clouded the event. He did not return that season.
The following season, he played well and earned his NHL debut for the Wild in April of 2012. He only played one game for the Wild and returned to Houston, helping the Aeros reach the Calder Cup playoffs.
The 2012-13 season included a few more injuries - all minor, but they added up. He played a total of 42 games and helped the Aeros make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
Cuma is not a flashy player, no skills at an elite level, but he uses his positioning and smarts to make plays. With every injury, he slid down the depth chart and does not look like he will be a part of the Wild’s future.