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Former Avalanche assistant Army hired to coach Iowa Wild

The head-coach post of the Wild's minor-league affiliate didn't stay vacant for long, as Tim Army was hired Thursday — only a week after Derek Lalonde left the position to become an assistant with the Lightning.

Army joins Iowa of the American Hockey League after spending last season as an assistant with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL, the Penguins' affiliate. Before then, he was an assistant with the Avalanche from 2011-2017.

He was most recently a head coach when he guided his alma mater, Providence College, from 2005-2011. The program reached the Hockey East Quarterfinals in each of his first three seasons at the helm, and it had a winning conference record in two of those campaigns. Army was also head coach of the Portland Pirates of the AHL from 2002-2005, with the team going 99-89-26-6.

The 55-year-old also had stints as an assistant with the Capitals (1997-2002), Ducks (1993-1997) and Providence College (1987-1993), and Army has coached internationally with Team USA —winning a bronze medal at the 1996 and 2013 IIHF World Hockey Championships and helping the U-18 team finish second at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

A Hobey Baker Award finalist, Army earned an All-Hockey East First Team selection and was named an ACHA West First-Team All-American as a player at Providence College. He also served as captain his senior season.

Army played one season with the Maine Mariners of the AHL, tallying 27 points in 68 games in 1985-86.

What's in a number? Why Parise's, Suter's Wild contracts are 13 years

Six years ago, the Wild officially signed winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter – the top-two headliners in NHL free agency in 2012 – to 13-year, $98 million contracts.

My story Sunday looked at the impact the two have had on the franchise so far, on and off the ice, while also forecasting what the team’s future could look like as the two near the end of their contracts. Read it here.

 

 

After the Wild wrapped the 2011-12 season out of the playoffs for a fourth straight time, team brass huddled up and decided it would pursue one of the two.

Whether that would be Parise or Suter was up in the air, but the Wild budgeted for the addition.

The idea of targeting both didn’t dawn on the Wild until just a few days before free agency opened July 1, but team personnel wasn’t the first to anticipate the two playing together; Parise and Suter, who previously suited up alongside each other for Team USA in international competition, had discussed it in the past.

It wasn’t until the end of July 1, though, that the two really focused on the potential.

A Bloomington native, Parise was intrigued by the possibility of returning home to play. Joining a team that could consistently contend was also a priority. Suter also had ties to the area; his wife Becky is from Minnesota, and the Midwest lifestyle appealed to him after growing up in Wisconsin.

What helped the Wild’s case, too, was the fact it was able to accommodate both contracts.

At the time of negotiations, there was no stipulation in the collective bargaining agreement that limited the length of contracts. But after the league rejected a whopping 17-year, $102 million deal between Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils in 2010, the NHL and NHL Players Association agreed that the cap hit for any contract longer than five years would be recalculated once a player turned 41 during that deal.

That influenced Suter and Parise, essentially capping them at a 13-year commitment since they’d each be 40 years old in the final season of those contracts.

“There’s a lot of variables that can happen in 13 years,” Wild owner Craig Leipold said. “But that was the risk we were willing to take in order to get those two players.”

Contracts like the ones Parise and Suter signed don’t exist anymore; the CBA that went into effect just months after the two joined the Wild capped commitments (at seven and eight years) for the first time, nixing the ability of teams to lower cap hits by extending an agreement into double digits – potentially to the point that it exceeded a player’s projected career length in the NHL’s mind.

“We also felt that a provision implementing term limits on contracts was a reasonable and responsible ‘allocation tool’ within the overall Cap system,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email, “which hopefully would operate to better ensure that the overall pool of dollars available for Player compensation in any given year was being distributed in a fair and equitable way."

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