After a season marred by injuries and a decline in production from veteran players, the Wild — and their fans — are looking toward October, but the team's roster is likely to look largely the same.

And with several players already signed to multiyear contracts, they may not have much financial flexibility to make changes, especially in the final year of the $14.7 million cap hit for the joint buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter from 2021.

Injuries plague older players

While older players can and do make it through entire seasons unscathed, it can be a time in a player's career when injuries happen more frequently and take longer to recover from.

Seven Wild skaters with multiple years left on their contracts are in or near their 30s, and most of them have no-move or no-trade clauses in their contracts. Among them, only Zach Bogosian was on par with playing in the same share of games as four years ago.

This year, the Wild players who missed at least 10% of the season with injuries are all 30 and older with only one exception: Vinni Lettieri, who is 29.

Part of what ruined the Wild's season this year was injuries to key players on defense, as two of the team's most important defenders, captain Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin missed significant time with injuries.

Compared to the rest of the league, the Wild had the second-highest per-game salary cap charge for defensemen missing games due to illness or injury. Only New Jersey was worse on this metric.

Long contracts, fewer spots

Eleven forwards, six defensemen and three goalies are currently signed through next year or beyond.

While some decisions will need to be made on restricted free agents, available positions for Wild prospects could be few.

Though it has always been hard for AHL players to crack into the lineup, it could get even harder for defensemen if Declan Chisholm and Brock Faber are re-signed or extended as expected.

Anything can happen in a year, but more roster space — and money — should free up after next season as the financial albatross of the Parise-Suter buyouts is lifted and a handful of contracts expire. Will fans be prepared to wait?