While there are certainly bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks — the contract status of Kevin Fiala in the first thing that comes to mind — Wild general manager Bill Guerin made a small move on Wednesday afternoon that has a chance to make a big impact next season.
With a few weeks before NHL free agency opens up, the Wild inked Connor Dewar to a 2-year, $1.6 million contract that will keep with the organization through the 2023-24 season. He was set to become a restricted free agent next month.
Most importantly for the 23-year-old Dewar is the fact that it’s a one-way deal, meaning he will be paid his $800,000 average annual value regardless of if he’s in the NHL or AHL. He was previously playing on a two-way deal, which meant he made a higher rate when he was up in the NHL, and a lower rate when he was down in the AHL.
This is a good sign that Dewar will be a regular in the NHL when next season rolls around. Why else would the Wild agree to pay him the same salary regardless of what level he plays?
After making his NHL debut on Oct. 28 last season, Dewar went on to play 35 games with the Wild in the regular season, emerging as a valuable depth piece near the bottom of the lineup. He made NHL playoff debut on May 12 in a Game 6 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Looking ahead to next season, Dewar will likely play on the penalty kill, something he’s already proven more than capable of doing at a high level. He had some good chemistry with former AHL teammate Brandon Duhaime, too, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see them reunited next season.
A third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, 5-foot-10, 175-pound Dewar cut his teeth in the minors prior to getting called up. He recorded 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) in 103 career games with the Iowa Wild of the AHL.