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Thursday (Five things about Parise and Suter) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under NHL news Updated: July 5, 2012 - 9:20 AM

The "State of Hockey" is positively giddy right now. Honestly, in terms of off-field or off-ice excitement, this rivals pretty much anything we have ever seen in this market. The Brett Favre news was a spectacle and it was thrilling, but we didn't even know at the time if he could still play. Joe Mauer re-signing was huge news at the time, but he wasn't new -- we had already seen him win three batting titles and an MVP award.

Getting not one but two marquee free agents in the same day in our unofficial state sport? Huge. Massive. And it leaves us with these thoughts:

1) Do you realize that the identical $98 million contracts signed by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are both equal to DOUBLE the largest contract ever signed by an outside free agent coming to Minnesota? That honor previously belonged to Steve Hutchinson's $49 million free agent deal with the Vikings. Every other massive contract here has been a re-sign (Mauer, Garnett, AP, etc.) or in the case of Jared Allen a trade followed by an extension. We just don't get big outside free agents here. So to get two in one day? Unbelievable.

2) Could everything have come together more perfectly on this? Consider: The Wild had money to spend; the Wild was looking to make a huge impact after attendance and interest started to drift following four playoff-less seasons; the Wild has a core of young players but need centerpiece players around them; Parise and Suter became free agents in the same year; they are close enough that they decided that if it was an option, they would like to sign with the same team; both of them have local ties -- Parise is from here, and Suter's wife is from here, while Suter is also from nearby Wisconsin while Parise's fiance is from North Dakota. It's almost too perfect.

3) Which leads to the one cautionary tale in all these: Are we sure these guys are worth it? It's a valid question when a team shells out close to $200 million on two players. We know they are very good players -- leaders and elite performers at their positions who are at prime ages (27) right now -- but will the mix be enough to lead the Wild into some sort of promised land? And how ugly could things get if they don't? Parise, in particular, should be wary of Joe Mauer's $184 million contract, which is mentioned pretty much every time he grounds out. There will be plenty of pressure on the local boy making the big money. Parise seems well-equipped to handle it, but it will still be worth watching.

4) We haven't really heard any grumbling that Parise played at UND and Suter played for the Badgers. Are we growing up, Minnesota, or are we just too giddy to complain?

5) Zach Parise has a pug. Expect a hard-hitting Q&A about the delights of pug ownership as soon as the dust settles.


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