Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Wild lands biggest catch: Parise, Suter for $98 million each

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 5, 2012 - 4:53 PM

In one of the most monumental days in Minnesota hockey history -- and indisputably Wild history -- the hometown team shook the foundation of the National Hockey League on Wednesday by landing its hottest two free agents: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

The two were pursued by every heavyweight team in the league, and chose a Wild franchise that has missed the playoffs the past four seasons ... as a package deal in which each player received an identical $98 million, 13-year contract.

"They drove this bus, and we're just lucky they drove it to Minnesota," an elated owner Craig Leipold said.

Within five hours of the signings, Wild officials said the team had sold about 700 new full season tickets for next season. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the NHL will have a full season, since the threat of a lockout looms with the expiration of the league's collective bargaining agreement on Sept. 15.

But that was a distant concern Wednesday as the state's hockey community celebrated the arrival of the coveted free agents, both with local ties.

Parise, who attended Faribault's Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school, is a forward whose father, J.P. Parise, was an NHL All-Star and assistant coach with the Minnesota North Stars. Suter, a defenseman, is a former University of Wisconsin star who is married to a Minnesota native.

Both have played for only one NHL team -- Parise with the New Jersey Devils, Suter with the Nashville Predators.

'It's a great opportunity'

Why the move to the Wild? Family, belief in the Wild's future and the desire to play together.

"Ryan and I had talked throughout the year," said Parise, the type of homegrown, born-and-bred, real-life Minnesota-produced star this hockey market has long craved. "You always say to each other, 'Wouldn't it be great to have a chance to play with each other and to play on the same team?'

"I know how great of a player Ryan is ... and to have an opportunity to play with a guy of that caliber, it's a great opportunity."

The Wild gave them that opportunity.

For two years, Leipold and General Manager Chuck Fletcher have eyed this summer with the hopes that Parise and Suter would become free agents. What helped was the fact that Parise and Suter are great friends from wearing the USA's red, white and blue in international competitions, including the 2010 Olympics.

As free agency began Sunday, the 27-year-old 2003 first-round draft picks began texting each other behind the scenes with the objective of making the reunion happen.

The Wild began working on Parise on Sunday. Parise was sold by Monday on the Wild's future and the impact he could have, but Suter had yet to meet with the team. That occurred Tuesday when Leipold, Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo flew to Madison, Wis., with Suter's agent, Neil Sheehy. Leipold and Suter have a relationship from when Leipold owned the Predators.

On Tuesday night, Parise and Suter had a phone conversation.

"[Tuesday] night into [Wednesday] morning, it became realistic," Suter said.

It helped that Suter is a Midwestern guy whose wife, Becky, is from Bloomington. And the allure of playing at home for Parise, born in Minneapolis and a resident of Orono, was strong. His parents, J.P. and Donna Parise, live in Prior Lake, and he's getting married this month to Alisha Woods and wants to build his own family.

"Just the opportunity to play at home, it really meant a lot to me, it meant a lot to my family," Parise said. "Every kid who's grown up in Minnesota would love to play for the Wild. That's the way it is."

Leipold, who wrote $10 million signing bonuses to each player Wednesday, was ecstatic. It was Parise and Suter who came up with the idea of identical contracts with reasonable $7.5 million salary cap hits so the Wild can have flexibility to get players in future years.

"These guys could go to any team. They were offered more money. We know it -- by a number of teams," Leipold said. "These guys decided this was the team. They spent so much time looking at our prospects, looking at our players and talking to some of the players.

"And they made the decision that they were coming here."

Duo among NHL's best

The signings thrust the Wild onto the NHL landscape after a series of disappointing seasons.

"This is like Gretzky going to L.A., Malkin and Crosby going to Pittsburgh," said Sheehy, Suter's agent. "It's a game-changer. It's huge. It's major league-type stuff. The Wild just got two of the best players in the league at their positions."

In Predators history, Suter, who spent much of his career paired with star defenseman Shea Weber, ranks fourth with 542 games, fourth with 200 assists and tied for eighth with 238 points. Suter's father, Bob, played on the U.S. 1980 gold medal-winning Olympic team and his uncle, Gary Suter, was a five-time All-Star and a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Parise, a former University of North Dakota star, has averaged .82 points per game. Parise ranked 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.

"Our goal in signing them wasn't to make a splash. It's to make our team better," Fletcher said. "The real work is just starting. If we assume we can just show up in [training] camp and go on the ice and be better, we're kidding ourselves. We have a lot of work to do."

  • related content

  • Video: Sports Shakedown: How good are Parise, Suter?

    Thursday July 26, 2012

    The Minnesota Wild shook the foundation of the National Hockey League on Wednesday by landing its hottest two free...

  • Souhan: Leipold happy to spend $200M in one hour

    Thursday July 5, 2012

    Having spent almost $200 million in about an hour, making him the Minnesota version of Pacman Jones, Wild owner Craig Leipold realized he would have to take on one more...

  • Photo gallery: Parise and Suter sign with Wild

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    Both sought-after NHL free agents will play for the Minnesota Wild.

  • Gardy, Mauer help recruit two stars

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    DETROIT - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had a signed picture of Zach Parise on his bulletin board at Target Field long before Parise became a free agent.

  • Suters' statistics

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    REGULAR SEASON

  • Parise's statistics

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    REGULAR SEASON

  • Runners-up react and even vent

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    Lou Lamoriello was disappointed that Zach Parise left. David Poile was more pointed about Ryan Suter's choice.

  • Signings deliver immediate business impact

    Thursday July 5, 2012

    The Wild's phones were busy from fans purchasing season tickets.

  • Reaction elsewhere to Wild signings

    Thursday July 5, 2012

    REACTION ELSEWHEREIS HE SERIOUS?Mike Modano, who began his career with the Minnesota North Stars before moving with the franchise to...

  • Chart: The Zach Parise file

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    THE ZACH PARISE FILEAge: 27 (July 28, 1984)Size: 5-11, 195 poundsPosition: Left wingerRegional connection: Father is J.P. Parise, who played...

  • Chart: Minnesota's free agency history

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    The four teams that comprise the Twin Cities major professional sports marketplace have not been big free-agent spenders -- before Wednesday. Here's a look:

  • Chart: The money

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    THE MONEYZach Parise and Ryan Suter each agreed to contracts worth $98 million over 13 seasons. Here's how those numbers...

  • Chart: Wild reaction

    Thursday July 5, 2012

    So here's the question: Given that this is hockey, and given the big news of the day, who gets the top assists when it comes to Zach Parise and Ryan...

  • Analysis: High-end additions infuse jolts of energy and credibility

    Wednesday July 4, 2012

    In one swoop, the Wild reinvented the franchise and reinvigorated its fan base.

  • Zach Parise and Ryan Suter celebrated Parise's tying goal for Team USA in the gold-medal game against Canada in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

  • At the Hockey Lodge store at Xcel Energy Center, store manager Bill Be...

  • New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise goes for the puck during the t...

  • Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo, left, poke-checks the puck away fro...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Dallas 12/4/14 7:25 PM
Chicago
Chicago 109 FINAL
Boston 102
Golden State 106 FINAL
Charlotte 101
Dallas 106 FINAL
Toronto 102
Milwaukee 104 FINAL
Detroit 88
New Orleans 91 FINAL
Atlanta 100
LA Clippers 102 FINAL
Houston 85
New York 78 FINAL
Oklahoma City 105
Orlando 83 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 104 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Phoenix 97 FINAL
Denver 122
Memphis 97 4th Qtr 4:10
Portland 88
Minnesota 79 3rd Qtr 4:45
LA Lakers 81
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Washington 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Montreal 1 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Detroit 5 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 4
Carolina 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL
Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Edmonton 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 5 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 4
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
Santa Clara 44 FINAL
Rhode Island 66
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67 FINAL
Dartmouth 68
FIU 61 FINAL
Wright State 59
Texas-El Paso 77 FINAL
Xavier 73
Penn State 88 FINAL
Bucknell 80
James Madison 56 FINAL
Ohio State 73
Yale 66 FINAL
Providence 72
Lamar 59 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
Miss Valley St 66 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 66 FINAL
Georgia 62
Oklahoma 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 69
Stephen F Austin 83 FINAL
Austin Peay 62
Norfolk State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 70
Middle Tennessee 51 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
Char Southern 47 FINAL
Florida State 58
Princeton 65 FINAL
San Diego 75
Drake 46 FINAL
Valparaiso 66
Rice 74 FINAL
Washington St 76
USC Upstate 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 64
Rider 54 FINAL
Georgia Tech 61
High Point 59 FINAL
Clemson 62
Emerson 50 FINAL
Hartford 83
Savannah State 71 FINAL
Jacksonville St 74
Monmouth 56 FINAL
Maryland 61
South Alabama 75 FINAL
Miami-Florida 87
Boise State 54 FINAL
NC State 60
Vanderbilt 65 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
St Johns 66
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Syracuse 72
Bradley 49 FINAL
TCU 57
Alabama State 91 FINAL
TX-Pan American 79
Delaware State 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
Tennessee St 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
North Carolina 75 FINAL
Florida 64
Memphis 72 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Hofstra 86 FINAL
Jackson State 56
Samford 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Cleveland State 68 FINAL
Marshall 59
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Nebraska 75
SE Louisiana 61 FINAL
Tulane 71
Creighton 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 75
Murray State 61 FINAL
Portland 64
North Texas 73 FINAL
Arkansas 89
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Indiana 87
Michigan State 79 FINAL
Marquette 68
Western Mich 79 FINAL
San Jose St 60
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Colorado 82
Texas-Arlington 81 FINAL
Montana State 104
Pacific 64 FINAL
Colorado State 75
Miss State 75 FINAL
Saint Louis 50
La Salle 56 FINAL
Virginia 64
North Dakota 53 FINAL
Utah 90
UCLA 74 2nd Half 8:43
UAB 53
Baylor 35 2nd Half 10:51
Illinois 39
Long Beach State 30 1st Half 3:20
Washington 27
Mercer 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 31 FINAL
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(19) Marshall 66
UCF 16 FINAL
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
SMU 9
Akron 24 FINAL
Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
Bowling Green 24
Buffalo 41 FINAL
Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
Eastern Mich 16
Arkansas 14 FINAL
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 FINAL
South Alabama 40
(13) Arizona State 35 FINAL
(12) Arizona 42
Stanford 31 FINAL
(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 24 FINAL
Air Force 27
Virginia 20 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Tulsa 32
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Northern Ill 12/5/14 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
(12) Arizona 12/5/14 8:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Marshall 12/6/14 2:00 AM
TBA
(11) Kansas State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(5) Baylor
Iowa State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(6) TCU
Oklahoma State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(20) Oklahoma
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Michigan 76 FINAL
Washington St 64
Green Bay 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 50
Eastern Kentucky 71 FINAL
Western Carolina 62
NJIT 65 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 57
Fordham 74 FINAL
Incarnate Word 42
Furman 63 FINAL
Florida State 94
Illinois State 44 FINAL
Miami-Florida 95
Eastern Michigan 74 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 78
George Washington 74 FINAL
NC State 66
Ohio State 55 FINAL
Wichita State 70
Western Ky 69 FINAL
Tulane 64
La Salle 71 FINAL
Long Island 66
Binghamton 51 FINAL
St Johns 67
UNC-Asheville 52 FINAL
NC Central 55
North Florida 55 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 41
Akron 73 FINAL
Belmont 58
Miss Valley St 46 FINAL
UMKC 62
Liberty 80 FINAL
Penn State 68
Colgate 44 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 60
Mercer 80 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Northeastern 72 FINAL
No Dakota State 79
(10) Maryland 80 FINAL
James Madison 64
Villanova 46 FINAL
Arizona State 51
Tulsa 87 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
Weber State 100 FINAL
New Mexico St 97
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
Purdue 69
Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
Fla Gulf Coast 86 FINAL
Clemson 61
Drake 69 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 61
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Navy 71
(15) Nebraska 71 FINAL
UCLA 66
Northern Iowa 58 FINAL
Hofstra 61
Austin Peay 71 FINAL
Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
Samford 56 FINAL
Georgia State 61
Siena 78 FINAL
Denver 62
Abilene Christian 88 FINAL
George Mason 86
Towson 49 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Howard 55 FINAL
St Marys-CA 80
Houston 67 FINAL
Idaho State 73
IUPUI 61 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
East Carolina 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 43
USC 88 FINAL
Sam Houston St 67
Minnesota 54 FINAL
Vanderbilt 71
Kent State 47 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 57
Montana 55 FINAL
Princeton 80
(9) Kentucky 92 FINAL
Oklahoma 88
Arizona 65 FINAL
FIU 58
Northern Ky 52 FINAL
Grand Canyon 45
Stetson 57 FINAL
Marist 50
American Univ 59 FINAL
Gonzaga 56
UAB 61 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 66
Oral Roberts 38 FINAL
NC A&T 47
Stony Brook 42 FINAL
(8) Duke 72
TCU 62 FINAL
Colorado State 76
(5) Stanford 54 FINAL
(11) North Carolina 70
Monmouth 82 FINAL
Wagner 59
Portland 59 FINAL
Nevada 84
Stephen F Austin 62 FINAL
UC-Riverside 90
Alcorn State 33 FINAL
Rice 61
Lafayette 61 FINAL
(12) Louisville 102
Florida 81 FINAL
Georgetown 73
Miami-Ohio 51 FINAL
Oakland 65
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Southern Ill 78
Florida A&M 46 FINAL
SMU 77
Northern Colorado 67 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 58
Montana State 66 FINAL
CS-Northridge 78
(22) Syracuse 63 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Dartmouth 74 FINAL
Cal Poly 61
Utah State 43 FINAL
(13) Baylor 99
Toledo 64 FINAL
Virginia 62
Christian Brothers 39 FINAL
Arkansas State 79
South Florida 67 FINAL
Illinois 61
Coll of Charleston 24 FINAL
(3) Connecticut 85
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Charlotte 58
San Jose St 87 FINAL
(14) California 110
Central Michigan 73 FINAL
Oregon 67
Fresno State 93 FINAL
San Diego 88
Boston U 49 FINAL
New Mexico 56
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Colorado 87
Ole Miss 52 FINAL
Utah 38
Prairie View 58 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Army 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 39
Cincinnati 38 2nd Half 7:46
Creighton 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close