Wild agrees to terms with Parise and Suter
Article by: Michael Russo Updated: July 4, 2012 - 11:22 AM
The Minnesota Wild has now also agreed to terms with free agent forward Zach Parise.
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The Wild has landed its blue-chip defenseman and is working toward landing the blue-chip forward as well.
After an impressive maneuver Tuesday to get itself in front of free-agent Ryan Suter, the Wild has agreed to terms on a 13-year contract with defenseman Ryan Suter, sources say.
But the Wild’s not done in its attempt to shake a hockey-mad market into a frenzy.
According to sources, the Wild was working on agreeing to terms with Minneapolis-born Zach Parise on a 13-year deal.
If successful, and it appears as if it will be, Parise and Suter are forming a star-studded tandem that can come to Minnesota and perhaps help alter the fortunes of a franchise that has missed the playoffs four consecutive seasons.
Suter, 27, was drafted seventh overall in 2003 and spent his entire seven-year career with the Nashville Predators.
In Predators history, Suter, who spent much of his career being paired with Predators star defenseman Shea Weber, ranks fourth with 542 games, fourth with 200 assists, tied for eighth with 238 points and second with a plus-43.
He scored a career-high 46 points last season and averaged 26 minutes, 30 seconds a game – third-highest in the NHL and a minute higher than any one of his previous seasons.
Suter had such an influence in Nashville, Suter last year publicly requested that the Predators make trades to help their postseason chances. Soon after, Nashville traded for Hal Gill, Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad.
Suter’s father, Bob, played on the United States’ 1980 gold-medal winning Olympic team and his uncle, Gary Suter, was a five-time All-Star, a Calder Trophy winner and is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
His wife, Becky, hails from Bloomington, where her father, Stan Palmer, is said to be entrenched in the youth hockey community.
Sources say Predators GM David Poile tried to convince Suter to reconsider leaving Nashville to no avail Wednesday morning.
Parise, 27, the 17th pick in the 2003 draft by the Devils, has spent seven years in New Jersey. He has averaged .82 points per game. Parise ranks fourth in Devils history with 194 goals, ninth with 410 points, tied for fifth with 51 power-play goals, fourth with 37 winning goals and fifth with 1,699 shots.
His best year came in 2008-09 when he scored 45 goals and 94 points.
The Minneapolis-born, Shattuck-St. Mary’s product and Orono resident is the son of former North Stars player and assistant coach J.P. Parise.
Like Suter, he is highly decorated in USA Hockey. Both won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics, with Parise forcing overtime in the gold-medal game with 24 seconds left.
Tuesday night, Parise told Josh Rimer on nextsportstar.com that he and Suter had been talking throughout this process.
“Ryan’s a great player,” Parise told Rimer. “He’s a top defenseman in this league. Those type of players don’t come around often. They’re tough to find. I’d love to play on a team with a defenseman like Ryan Suter. Immediately you’ve got your top defenseman, immediately you’ve got a power-play guy, you’ve got shutdown guy. Again those guys are hard to find, so to get an opportunity to play with him would be great.”
The Wild recognized early on it would be going up against hefty competition for Parise.
Pittsburgh has Crosby and Malkin, Philadelphia has Giroux, Detroit has Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Chicago has Toews and Hossa.
For Suter, it was mostly going up against Detroit, which was wooing Suter by using Hall of Famer Chris Chelios in its recruitment. Chelios and Suter’s uncle, Gary, are good friends from their days playing for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild? It hasn’t won a playoff round since 2003 and was selling a core of prospects, a potential of a promising future and the chance to be a hero.
In others words, a lot of maybes.
But in a league where there’s no guarantees you can go to a team and win a Stanley Cup every year, the Wild worked to sell both Parise and Suter that they can be the two players, who along with captain, Mikko Koivu could help shape a franchise for the next dozen or so years.
It sounds like the Wild was very convincing.