The state of Minnesota has never won a Stanley Cup in its franchise’s storied history – through the North Stars and now the Wild – but a spark is quickly rising, as two of the big-name free agents signed lengthy contracts with the Wild this week.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed matching contracts on July 4, ending the ‘WHERE WILL THEY GO?’ dispute just days after Parise spoke to reporters in Mississauga to report no updates on the contract talks.
Both of the deals are worth $98 million over the next thirteen years.
Parise, a Minnesota native who was born twenty minutes from where he’ll play the next baker’s dozen years, had spent the entirety of his previous NHL career with the New Jersey Devils after being drafted by the team in 2003. He spent one year with the Albany River Rats of the AHL before playing in Jersey for the next seven years, eventually making his way up to captain.
Last season with the Devils, Parise played all 82 games and had 31 goals and 38 assists. He also had eight goals and seven assists in 24 playoff games.
Like Parise, Suter had also spent his entire NHL career prior to the signing with one team – for him, the Nashville Predators. Also like Parise, he was drafted in 2003 and spent one season in the AHL (Milwaukee Admirals) before joining the NHL squad.
The defenseman had seven goals and 39 assists in 79 games with Nashville last season.
Aside from both being in the 2003 draft class and both spending just one year in the AHL, Parise and Suter competed together at the 2010 Olympics, representing the United States and earning a silver medal. They also competed together in the 2004 IIHF World Juniors and 2002 World U18 championships, winning gold at both tournaments.
So while the package deal may have come as a surprise to some, the two have history together and should prove to be a lethal combination on the Wild roster when October rolls around.