While they’re not exactly Lebron James and Dwyane Wade (yes, I spelled Dwyane correctly), Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have decided to join forces to play in….Minnesota?

Well then.

As NHL.com’s Dave Lozo put it this morning before it happened:

Welp, here it is: From Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:

I want to make some “Kiss from a rose on the gray” Seal reference, but I have no idea what it means.

Still, this is awesome.

Here’s Russo’s story as the news broke.

And as for the contract values:

That’s a cap hit of $7.53 million dollars each, which isn’t all the ridiculous for blue chip pieces under a 70 million dollar cap.

At face value, the decisions are a little surprising. No wonder they took so long to decide – they really went out on a limb here.

Zach Parise turned down the chance to be linemates with Sidney Crosby for a decade, immediately contend for Stanley Cups, and inflate his stats to Hall-of-Fame levels.

Ryan Suter turned down the chance to move the puck up to a crew of forwards in Detroit that include Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg (pieces he never had in Nashville) and play for an organization that competes for the Cup every year, no matter how they have to do it.

But really…it sort of does make sense.

They were getting comparable money either way – that was never the issue. So that means it came down to which city and team could provide them with what they desire, not just as hockey players, but as humans.

First off, Zach Parise is just about the nicest mid-western kid you could ever meet. He’s savvy enough to handle the east coast if need be, but he’s from Minny, and his family is from Minny. He’s engaged to be married, and had to make the decision where to throw down serious roots, and figure out where he wants to raise his family. I’m also willing to bet his lady-friend had some input into the decision. Pittsburgh is a fine city and all, but for Zach, Minnesota is home.

Ryan Suter isn’t much different. It’s funny that when all the haggling for his services was taking place, you’d see sentences like “They flew to a private airstrip near….Ryan Suter’s farm in Wisconsin, where he spends his summers.” Oh. That’s the most old-school hockey thing ever. “Welp, the season’s over, back to bailing hay.”

The delayed decision wasn’t some big shot big-timing anyone. This is a guy trying to make the right decision who, like Zach, happens to like mid-west-living, and I can’t say I blame him. Frankly, if I had to choose to live in Detroit or Minneapolis, I’m leaning heavily towards the latter.

And of course, neither of them wants to play for a perenial loser every year, so going together ensures there’s at least some talent, some team nucleus that won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Mikko Koivu is a rock of a player, Dany Heatley is declining but still has that bomb of a one-T he can fire in on the powerplay, and they’re pretty solid in net.

Plus, by taking the ridiculously long contracts, they’ve kept their cap hits low(ish), meaning that they have the opportunity to fill in some holes down the road. Next season PM Bouchard and Matt Cullen will combine to earn over $7.5 million, but are UFA’s after the season. There’s some more money that could be better spent.

The defense needs shoring up, but these guys are going to be there for a long time. With a core in place, you have something to build on.

I love their decision for a number of reasons, one of which being that it was fun to see Pittsburgh and Detroit (two teams I have nothing against) get shut down. The NHL isn’t like baseball where the second you get to superstar status, you’re a New York Yankee. Hell, Justin Schultz just chose Edmonton.

The fans in Minnesota deserve this more than anyone. They’ve damn near sold out every single game since the Wild became a thing (missing once or twice, I believe?), and the team has never been particularly thrilling. They’ve never had the big names, or the most exciting team – sure, they’ve been scrappy, they’ve had some good years, but today….today is a huge moment for that franchise.

This year I included the Wild on my “5 teams that make me want to flip the channel” list. Well, you can scratch them off that (Carolina too).

So it’s a new beginning for fans, and a new beginning for these two. Is this step one en route to a Stanley Cup in Minnesota?

Comments (26)

  1. Don’t forget the young prospects in Granlund, Coyle, Larsson, Brodin, Dumba, Hackett, Zucker, Phillips, Kuemper, Gustavsson, etc.

    As a life long Minnesota sports fan, probably the most exciting day ever. Wild fans have had to put up with dreadful teams every year. Finally some excitement!

  2. I think a lot of people are suddenly forgetting how bad the Wild were last year. Yes, Parise and Suter make them better, but two guys can’t launch a team from 12th to the top of the West. If each guy added 5 wins, which is a lot, the would have finished with 101 pts … tied with Chicago for sixth in the West.

    They’re a better team, sure. They’re in the thick of it, but I hardly think this puts them over the top.

    • Although it may not take them to first, it could however take them to 8 and with the parity that exists in the NHL that could be all they need. Well that and a strong cup run.

    • Don’t forget that we were 1st in the West until we got riddled by 5 different injuries to some of our top players. That first half of the year team we had, plus Parise and Suter? I’d have a hard time saying that won’t do a bit more than just put us back in ~6th place.

  3. They were 1st in the league in December before Setoguchi, Bouchard, Koivu, and Latendresse went out. Four of the top six. Yes they overachieved, but they also got hit hard with injuries. Adding Parise and Granlund to the top six as well as the names I listed above to the AHL for top six depth in case of injuries…yeah.

    Also, they added Gilbert late in the season who was able to play 30 minutes a night and should play with Suter…and they are adding Brodin who played as an 18 year old in the WC and got lots of praise from Swedish players like Kronwall and Alfredsson.

    • They were 1st in the league mostly on the strength of goaltending and a high shooting percentage. Sure injuries are killers but don’t forget that even when they had that great record people were writing articles about how unsustainable it was and they turned out to be right.

  4. And yet, they still have the ugliest unis in the league.

    • The Christmas tree ones, yes. I can tolerate the straight green-and-whites.

      • Don’t get how the red jerseys got dubbed the “Christmas Tree” jerseys…more of an ornament, no? Trees are green. None the less, the logo, nickname and all are pretty bad. At least we have hope on the ice now.

  5. Agreed. I am hoping they drop the Xmas jerseys and go with just the greens. New beginnings.

    • Don’t you understand how marketing works? They gotta have all the fans buy the Xmas jerseys of Parise and Suter and then, in about 2 years, change ‘em up.

  6. I just wanta say to Toronto fans and management and ownership and Rogers and Bell, you can all go str8 to hell for taking advantage of the stupidest fans in hockey. Never again will i ever hope for so useless a team such as the TML. Good luck to the Wild, a hard working respectable team that deserve it.

    • What does this have to do with the Leafs? Two Americans with Minnesota links signed in the most hockey-mad market in the US. The Leafs weren’t ever going to be in the conversation.

      • “The Leafs weren’t ever going to be in the conversation.”

        You answered your own question.

        The Leafs and their fans call themselves the Mecca of the hockey world. Haven’t won a cup in 45 years, haven’t made the playoffs in what 10 years, finished almost last this season after using AHL hockey players for the last 4 years to ‘get through the season’, and have let every single decent free agent go by in the same amount of seasons. They have done this year after year for 45 years and are still the Mecca of the hockey world, and do you know why? The place is packed every single game for all those years. They don’t have to fix anything cause the people of Toronto don’t know anything about hockey. They keep paying for it up front like a bunch of fools. And the owners and management just laugh and collect, and never invest in a single good player cause that would be a waste of money – NO NEED. Crosby doesn’t even play here when the Pens come, nor does Andre Flurry, they don’t have to, why risk the health of their good players. Leave em home, rest their #1, Toronto sux. They’ll beat us anyway. The Laughing Stock of the League. But the fans just eat it up!!

        KISS MY ASSSS TORONTO, THE OUTHOUSE OF THE MECCA OF HOCKEY!!!

        • Toronto has no interest in being cheap. Of course they WANT to field a competetive team, they just haven’t done it. If you think it’s all about money, then being a strong team that goes deep in the playoffs is even more important, since it’s all gravy for them in the postseason. They don’t pay the players any extra money for the playoffs. Building a cup winner is hard as hell, only one team a year out of 30 gets to call themselves champs.

    • I like how you blame Rogers and Bell, considering they haven’t even gained control of the team yet (the NHL only approved it on June 19th, so it’s unlikely to have finished yet considering the amount of paperwork involved)

      Having said that, I’m a Habs fan, so I agree with your comment about Toronto fans :p

      • Because i have little doubt that they have discussed their plans and intentions with management already and that has resulted in Burke doing next to nothing regarding all these opportunities that just waltzed by.

        • On the other hand, is it possible that Burke could do nothing to get these ‘opportunities’, other than overpay wildly? In which case he’d be hurting his team more than helping?

          You know, I remember the late 90s and early 2000′s as a time when the Maple Leafs continually overspent on free agents. Even though there was no salary cap, it still did not help, and they never made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Why do you think it would work now, in a salary cap system?

          Hey, I know, let’s sign Jeff Finger and Mike Komisarek to ridiculous salaries! That’s clearly the key to winning, right?

          • again, that’s what I’m talking about. Jeff whoooo? And don’t we have enough McClements yet???

            If you’re going to better your team it’s going to cost money. Other teams pay for it and better themselves. Something the Leafs always have but never want to spend unless it’s on someone we’ve never even heard of. like Jeff Finger.

  7. Bleh. Sucks for the Devils. I really hope this works for the wild, but I really think 2 players, a team does not make.

  8. I think the prospects are what sold them on signing so long there. BTW the past few years haven’t been sellouts. In fact, the team has been losing money lately. this could change that.

  9. Anyone who thinks the Wild is just these two guys isn’t paying attention.

    Do I think they’re a Cup contender next season, now? No.

    But i think playoffs is a reasonable expectation.

  10. I am an angry Flames fan. That is all

  11. One has to wonder if both of these contracts don’t get looked at by the league ala Kovalchuk’s and not just rubber stamped….

  12. Good day for all Wild fans out there. Congrats!!! i’m quite happy tou guys are in west divisions.

    But i’M more then happy too see it’s not PHI – NYR’ – PIT or DET who got them like M. Bourne wrote.

    Lately, it was all about 5-6 teams that where able to get the superstars. The wild got theres, CAR got Staal….

    Things are changing and even if my Habs arent as good looking, I think it’s great for hockey.

    Cheers MN !!!!

  13. lucky 13 both these guys are going to have career ending injury’s then maybe teams wont be so crazy with the length and money being thrown around

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