After a rumor-filled first few days of NHL free agency, the Minnesota Wild have signed the two biggest fish on the open market, with winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter both signing on the dotted line on Wednesday.
Reports have suggested Parise and Suter have agreed to matching 13-year, $98 million deals. Parise will turn 28 later this month while Suter turned 27 in January. So both guys are in their prime and provide the Wild with the top tier talent it has lacked and the expectations for the 2012-2013 season have now changed dramatically. Owner Craig Leipold is certainly tired of watching other teams play in the postseason, and has now backed up that talk by being willing to open his wallet for the top two free agents on the market this summer.
Parise had 31 goals and 38 assists for the New Jersey Devils last season and has at least 31 goals and 62 points in five of the last six seasons, with lone outlier being when he played just 13 games during the 2010-2011 season due to injury. Overall he has 194 career goals and 410 points in seven NHL seasons, so the Wild have addressed their need for some added scoring punch for sure. Parise, as everyone knows by now, was born in Minnesota and lives there in the offseason. His father, J.P., played for the Minnesota North Stars for a time during his own NHL career in the 1960′s and 1970′s.
Suter has provided some offensive punch himself from the blue line, with at least 33 assists and 37 points in each of the last five seasons for the Nashville Predators, with career highs in assists (39) and points (46) in 2011-12. He also has a combined plus/minus of +35 over the past two seasons.