27-Year-Old Defenseman – Minnesota Wild
Jared Spurgeon Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $20.75 million contract extension with the Wild in December of 2015.
Spurgeon netted his third goal of the season and added two helpers in Thursday's win over the Predators.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It’s hard to be an undersized blueliner, but Spurgeon has carved out an important role over six years in Minnesota, and last season was his best so far. He set career marks with 11 goals and 29 points despite reportedly having dealt with a nagging upper-body injury all year long. Health’s been an issue in the past, and it may be the only thing that could Spurgeon from seeing a sizable increase in production this year, as he’s locked into a top-line role on the Minnesota blue line with plentiful power-play time. He’s come a long way since being picked 156th overall by the Islanders in 2008.
For a defenseman, Spurgeon fits an interesting profile. At just 5-foot-9, he’s far from the imposing figure Marco Scandella is, but can be just as effective. Last season, Spurgeon put up nine goals and 16 assists, while committing just six minutes worth of penalties to go along with 124 blocks. Like the other top-four Wild defensemen, Spurgeon logs a lot of ice time, averaging 22:37 a game, which was good for third on the team. Spurgeon also contributes on the power play, recording three goals and three assists with the man advantage. In line to see 20-plus minutes again alongside Scandella, Spurgeon is an intriguing option for your fantasy team, but durability is a question mark. Last season, he played 66 games and has never played more than 70 in a season. If he can make it through the upcoming campaign in one piece, than he’ll help buoy your ice time and provide decent offensive numbers for a blueliner.
Spurgeon's star is on the rise, what with career-high totals last season in goals (five), assists (21), plus/minus (plus-15), penalty minutes (16), and average time on ice (22:38). He accomplished all of that in just 67 games last season, and then followed up with three goals and three assists in 13 playoff games. He's a smaller defender, but is in line to get some serious minutes in the top four. Thirty points are within reach.
Spurgeon is a strong passer who saw his output on offense increase last season with 15 points in 39 games. He became a stalwart on the man advantage, averaging 3:31 power play minutes per game and scored seven points there. At age 23, he could continue to improve, as he'll get plenty of minutes on one of Minnesota's top two blue line pairings. He's a real fantasy sleeper.
A slick-passer and undersized for your typical NHL defenseman, Spurgeon has potential to put up solid numbers from the Minnesota blue line. He notched 23 points in 70 games last year and will turn just 23 in November. He won't score many goals, but he has the chance to challenge 30 points this season should he -- and not Tom Gilbert -- settle in on Minnesota's top power play unit opposite Ryan Suter. Follow them in camp and target Spurgeon in the later rounds of deep leagues. Just don't expect him to anchor your roster's defensive scoring.
Last season Minnesota gave the feisty Spurgeon a chance to play in the NHL, where he tallied 12 points (4 G, 8 A) in 53 games as a rookie. The team also tested him out on the man advantage, with the 21-year-old averaging 1:28 of power-play ice time that same year. One would think that Spurgeon is at a disadvantage because of his diminutive frame – he's only 5-foot-9, 185 pounds – but he compensates with good vision and a lot of energy. It will be fun to see how Spurgeon progresses in the NHL, though chances are he'll be available on the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues in 2011-12.