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Wild sign Brock Faber: Could former University of Minnesota defenseman play now?
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 6: Brock Faber #14 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers skates against the Boston University Terriers during game one of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Frozen Four Championship Semifinal at the Amaile Arena on April 6, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. The Golden Gophers won 6-2. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
By Michael Russo and The Athletic Staff
The Minnesota Wild have signed University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:
The three-year deal is worth $2.775 million ($925,000 a year in the NHL, prorated this season), sources familiar with the negotiations told The Athletic.
Faber will immediately burn through the first year of his NHL deal as he joins the Wild and flies with the team to Chicago for Monday’s game.
The Kings drafted Faber with the No. 45 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft before trading him to the Wild in 2022.
Faber is a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to two All-Big Ten First Teams.
Details on Faber’s contract
Faber gets three $92,500 signing bonuses, and according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations, he can receive up to $250,000 in performance bonuses each year.
That means, in 2023-24 or 2024-25, if he achieves ONE of 10 goals, 25 assists, 40 points, top-four in ice time among Wild defensemen (minimum 42 games), top-3 in plus-minus among defensemen (minimum 42 games), 0.49 points per game (minimum 42 games), top-2 among defensemen in blocked shots, All-Rookie Team, All-Star selection, All-Star MVP, he’d get $250,000. — Russo
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Will Faber make his NHL debut in any of the final three regular-season games?
While Faber hasn’t been promised a game, it wouldn’t be surprising. If the Wild don’t have a chance to win the Central (their recent 0-2-1 streak and the fact Colorado and Dallas won’t stop winning has impeded that hope), it would make sense to start resting defensemen. After losing center Joel Eriksson Ek last week to a leg injury that has sidelined him week to week, the Wild have to be worried about possible injuries to top-4 defensemen Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba.
Faber’s parents are expected to attend Tuesday’s home game against Winnipeg, so perhaps that’s a tell. Or at a minimum, debuting him in the regular-season finale in Nashville on Thursday makes a lot of sense. He is eligible to play in the playoffs if needed. — Russo
What could Faber add to the Wild long term?
With Dumba a pending unrestricted free agent and expected to be at the end of the line of his long tenure in Minnesota, the Wild appear to be banking on Faber, a Maple Grove, Minn., native, to make the team out of training camp in the fall and assume Dumba’s role to the right of longtime defense partner, Brodin.
Faber is an elite defender, world-class skater and competitive leader who captained the Gophers his junior season and has vast big-game experience in the Olympics and winning gold in the World Junior Championship. He started to pick up his offensive production this past season and the Wild hope to continue to develop that facet of his game. — Russo
Faber’s collegiate career ended Saturday in the Gophers’ overtime loss to Quinnipiac in the national championship game.
The Wild acquired Faber last summer in a trade for Kevin Fiala and a first-round pick (they took Liam Ohgren at No. 19 in 2022).
Faber, 20, scored a career-high 27 points in 38 games, collected a plus-29 rating and won his second straight Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honor and third All-Big Ten.
He landed at 3:30 a.m. from Tampa, will burn the first year of his three-year contract and be on the Wild’s charter at 3:30 p.m. to Chicago Midway to begin getting acclimated to the team. The Wild play the Blackhawks on Monday night at United Center.
Brock Faber, the Frozen Four and a shot at a Minnesota ‘dream come true’ before joining the Wild
Wild can finally move on from Fiala after trade for ‘tougher than snot’ Faber, draft pick
In Joel Eriksson Ek’s absence, ‘it’s time for other guys to step in’ as Wild ramp up for playoffs