The Minnesota Wild and Nico Sturm had a mutual admiration for each other last spring.
That admiration was set in ink on Tuesday as Sturm — the former standout forward for the Austin Bruins — signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Wild.
Sturm’s deal will pay him $874,125 if or when he plays in the NHL, and $70,000 if he plays for the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild, Minnesota’s top minor-league affiliate.
It seems like the 24-year-old Sturm would have a reasonable chance of making the team, especially considering the Wild made a point to sign him last season once his career at Clarkson University ended. He will likely be jockeying for position in the bottom six of the lineup with other roster hopefuls.
Sturm played one season for the Bruins, compiling 11 goals and 41 points in 53 regular-season games during the 2014-15 season. He then spent one year with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm (14-25—39), followed by three seasons at Clarkson, where he accumulated 36 goals and 80 points in 118 career games.
He was signed by the Wild shortly after his college season ended in March and played in two regular-season NHL games last season.
DONATO, SOUCY SIGN
It looks like Ryan Donato and his shoot-first mentality will be sticking around the Twin Cities. He signed a two-year, $3.8 million contract on Tuesday afternoon and is poised to step into a more prominent with the Wild next season.
While there wasn’t much concern that general manager Paul Fenton would be able to get a deal done, it’s certainly a relief to lock up the 23-year-old Donato for the foreseeable future.
After being acquired from the Boston Bruins last season in exchange for former fan favorite Charlie Coyle, it didn’t take Donato very long to endear himself to the local fan base. He tallied 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 22 games with the Wild last season, and maybe most promising, never shied away from an opportunity to score, firing 64 shots on goal. He also played a pivotal role as the Iowa Wild made a brief run through the Calder Cup Playoffs before being knocked out in the second round by the Chicago Wolves.
Originally a second-round pick by the Bruins in the 2014 NHL Draft, Donato starred at Harvard University three years, recording 104 points (60 goals, 44 assists) for his career. He has also represented the United States twice in international competition, winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and leading Team USA in scoring at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Puck-moving defenseman Carson Soucy also re-signed with the Wild on Tuesday afternoon. He inked a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $750,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL.
As for the 24-year-old Soucy, even though he provides some depth on the blue line, it could be hard for him to crack the roster with so many talented players ahead of him on the depth chart.