The Minnesota Wild landed the top two free agents this summer as they announced the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter Wednesday.
The Minnesota Wild agreed to 13-year contracts with both Parise and Suter and hope their addition will solidify an already talented young team.
“We’ve been trying to put the best team on the ice for the last few years,” said Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. “We’ve obviously been trying to build aggressively through the draft in the last three years and build up a foundation of talent that we could get to a point where players could look at us and say, ‘They have a bright future ahead of them.’ From a drafting and developing standpoint, we have been working hard at this for a while, and yet we have been trying to win. There was an opportunity this summer with our cap space and a commitment from [owner Craig Leipold] to try to go out and be aggressive in free agency, and we did that.”
With the addition of Parise and Suter, the Minnesota Wild will look to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in 2012-2013. The Wild jumped out to an early 20-7-3 record this past season but again failed to make the playoffs.
The Wild added Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in trades with San Jose last summer, giving up Martin Havlat and Brent Burns in the process. Behind captain Mikko Koivu and this summer’s recent additions, the Minnesota Wild should be contenders to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
“Clearly, we are a team that we feel we have a lot of good players,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “Last year didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but for a certain part of last year we were one of the best teams in the League. We felt that if we could add either a top defenseman or a top forward, it would really help our team. I don’t think we ever assumed we were going to land both of them. But, we shot for the moon, tried our best and, again, fortune smiled upon us and they elected to come to Minnesota.”
Despite the speculation, Parise is remaining cautious. “I have been on teams that look great on paper that didn’t make the playoffs. I’ve been on teams that just squeak into the playoffs – this year, for example, we’re a [No.6] seed going into the playoffs and we make it to the Final,” Parise stated. “It’s so hard, the League is so even right now, you can’t predict anything. You can speculate all you want.”
Suter and Parise will both receive $98 million over 13 years. Both players will receive signing bonuses of $10 million in the first and second years and $5 million in the third year.