After days of speculation the answer that we’ve all been waiting for has finally come. Free agent forward Zach Parise previously of the New Jersey Devils, and defenceman Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators will be taking their talents to Minnesota to play for the Wild. Both players signed identical contracts and immediately make the Minnesota Wild a serious contender in the Western Conference, and bring stiff competition to the Northwest division, where the Vancouver Canucks have had a relatively easy ride the past few seasons.
Each player signed contracts for 13 years at 98 million dollars with an identical cap hit as well of $7.5 million dollars instantly improves Minnesota’s team and puts the pressure squarely on a franchise who’s fan base is rabid about hockey. The drawn out affair ultimately comes as no shock to anyone except the teams that they originally played for. For Parise, it was all about coming home to play for his hometown. For Suter, it’s a chance to play with one of his best friends, and in fa hockey crazed arena. The Devils and Predators were both disappointed at the outcome, as were other teams such as the Detroit Red Wings who were said to be in the running for Suter in hopes to replace the void left by Nicklas Lidstrom retiring.
The addition of Parise offensively makes the Wild more dangerous as he joins forwards, Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. On defence, Suter upgrades the the backend with former Oiler Tom Gilbert as his likely defensive partner.
It remains to be seen if this truckload of money given to these two players will be enough to bring a Stanley Cup to Minnesota, and while Parise is an outstanding forward on his own, I do have a question about Suter. Granted, he is a solid two way defenceman, and has been extremely reliable in Nashville. One has to question however if Suter’s a product of having played with Shea Weber his defensive partner, Pekka Rinne his goaltender, and the system that head coach Barry Trotz employed?
Time will tell, but for the meantime, congratulations on these two players hitting the jackpot.
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