Wild exit interviews: What we learned about free agent plans, injuries and more
, 2023-05-01 17:02:46,
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Filip Gustavsson’s franchise-record 51 saves in a double-overtime win in Game 1 against the Stars was a highlight in his breakout season for the Wild.
But the fact that Gustavsson followed that with three losses to end the season, including getting pulled after two periods in the Game 6 finale, didn’t sit well with the 24-year-old Swede.
“First game was good,” Gustavsson said Monday at the team’s end-of-season availability. “I thought I played pretty average the rest of the games. But something you can learn from.”
What could he have done better?
“I just wasn’t a big difference-maker,” Gustavsson said. “We had trouble with the PK. I let in a few bad goals on the PK. Stuff like that.”
How Gustavsson’s playoffs will impact his upcoming contract negotiations with general manager Bill Guerin remains to be seen. Gustavsson is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, and his camp has been shooting for the moon after the breakout, which included finishing second in the league in goals-against average and save percentage. He could end up a Vezina Trophy finalist.
What Gustavsson signs for will determine how the Wild attack the rest of free agency, as they only have a little over $10 million in cap space.
He didn’t seem too worried about a deal getting done.
“I pretty much told my agent … call me when the contract is done,” Gustavsson said.
“All you need is someone to believe in you.”
Filip Gustavsson thought this could have been his last year playing in North America. But the riddle-making, disc golf playing, pranking Swede has been a game-changer for #mnwild. Behind the rise of “Gus Bus.” https://t.co/qkx5HJYW44 pic.twitter.com/c4i9wA3yQV
— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithNHL) April 13, 2023
Gustavsson’s plan is to head home to Skelleftea this week for the summer. The Wild would like to see him work on his conditioning so he’s able to play more games, and that’s what he’s planning his summer around. The Wild have hinted that he didn’t arrive at training camp last fall in the best shape. It seems like Gustavsson could be the No. 1 next year, with Marc-Andre Fleury more of a backup-type role, which the future Hall of Famer said he’d be fine with.
And Gustavsson sees no reason he can’t repeat this year’s success.
“I think just my style — I don’t think I’ve changed much,” Gustavsson said. “If I played the same way, I wouldn’t say it’s hard for me to play the same way as I’ve been…
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