Wild, Gustavsson agree to a 3-year, $11.25M contract to avoid arbitration with young goalie

The Minnesota Wild signed goalie Filip Gustavsson to a three-year, $11.25 million contract on Monday, avoiding salary arbitration after his strong first season with the club.

The Wild have little room left on their salary cap after accounting for Gustavsson’s $3.75 million annual average value, but general manager Bill Guerin said he expects the 25-year-old to compete with veteran Marc-Andre Fleury for the starting job this season. The Wild also have top prospect Jesper Wallstedt waiting in the wings in the AHL.

“Having good goalie is a luxury, and we’ve got three of them, so we’re very happy about that,” Guerin said. “I think three years at the age that Gus is, it gives him a nice runway to really prove what he can be, and if he can continue to get better and build on the season that he had last year, then at 27 or 28 years old he’s going to be looking at an even better deal down the road.”

Gustavsson made 37 starts last season, going 22-9-7 with three shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He had a shutout streak of 177 minutes, 13 seconds across four games from Feb. 28 to March 12, the third-longest in franchise history.

Gustavsson, who is from Sweden, was acquired a year ago in a trade with Ottawa for goalie Cam Talbot. He was 2-3 in five starts in the playoffs, including a 51-save performance in a double overtime win over Dallas in Game 1 of the first-round series.

“I’m really happy to have three years instead of just having one year and having all the pressure on my shoulders again to really perform for this year to get another contract,” Gustavsson said.