I got this press release from the team around 10:15 PM, or, to put it another way, right after Zach Parise scored in L.A. to make it 1-1. So, in the odd announcement that comes during a game, the Wild announced on Monday night that they have signed now former UMass-Lowell defenseman Christian Folin to an entry-level, two-year contract.
If you haven’t heard of Folin yet, he was possibly the most highly coveted college free agent available, and there is a lot to like about him. For starters, he’s big. At 6’2″ 215, he already becomes the second biggest Wild defenseman, behind Clayton Stoner (who is, of course, out with injury at present). He’s also a right-handed shot, giving the Wild four righties to choose from on the back end. Interestingly enough, Folin’s presence, and he will join the big club straightaway in Chicago, could mean a slip down the pecking order for Minnesota’s last big college free agent signing, Nate Prosser.
Here’s the Hockey Night in Canada crew talking about Folin, among others the other night. Glenn Healy, who never seems to have nice things to say about anyone, compares him favorably to Danny DeKeyser, last year’s free agent prize out of Western Michigan, who signed with the Red Wings and appeared in 10 regular season games and two playoff games before a broken thumb knocked him out of action in 2013. He has 20 points in his first full season this year with Detroit:
Of course, Folin will be compared to DeKeyser because of the position he occupies in the hockey landscape right now, namely the college free agent everyone wanted, and a defenseman to boot. We’ll see how he progresses with the Wild, if he even gets a game. That being said, I emailed Michael Russo* the other day to ask how good of a chance the Wild had of signing Folin, and he responded that while the Wild wanted him, so did “about 20” other teams. Where there is smoke there is usually fire, and a player that sought after is probably worth a shot. Consider it a good day for the Wild.
And as I type this, Matt Moulson just tied the game, so that doesn’t suck either.
*If you ever have a hockey question, about the Wild or otherwise, feel free to email Russo. He seems to always respond within twenty minutes and his answers are thoughtful. Never actually met the man, but he seems like good people.
UPDATE- It should be noted, and I’m sorry I neglected this, but Folin cannot play for the Wild in the postseason should they qualify, per the latest CBA agreement. Folin was not on the team’s 50-contract reserve list at the trade deadline, rendering him ineligible. That does not mean, however, that he can’t help the Wild get there.