A coveted player in control of picking his next destination with plenty of options to consider.
Those were the circumstances when Ryan Suter was a free agent in 2012, and the defenseman found himself at the same crossroads when he unexpectedly became available again this offseason.
"I feel like I'm 27 again with all these teams calling," Suter said.
But Suter was in these similar situations for different reasons.
After age and experience led him to free agency nine years ago when he and Zach Parise signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts to join the Wild, Suter was on the lookout for a new team this time because the Wild let him go.
What happened next was a whirlwind, with Suter feeling down about his sudden exit before getting uplifted by the response from his suitors — interest that culminated in Suter signing with Dallas on Wednesday at the outset of NHL free agency.
"Everything happens for a reason," Suter said Thursday morning during a video interview. "We're really excited about this opportunity because guys when they turn 36 don't really get this opportunity. We have it, and we're going to make the most of it."
Defensemen were in demand when the signing period opened, and Suter was one of the headliners of the group.
The Stars gave him a four-year, $14.6 million contract that includes a no-movement clause, stability that was imperative for Suter to uproot his family.
"They didn't flinch one bit when I said four years," said Suter, who turns 37 in January. "They were excited about it, and obviously we were excited about it."
Suter had that security with the Wild until the team decided to buy out the remaining four years of his contract earlier this month; Parise was also bought out, making the players' arrivals and departures identical.
"I didn't talk to anyone, had no idea what was going on," Suter said. "I got a call at 10 o'clock, and they told me the news. I was in shock, didn't know what to say. So, you're feeling pretty low."
Unlike Parise, who had been demoted to the fourth line and was even a healthy scratch at times, Suter continued to have a prominent role last season. He was still anchored on the Wild's top defensive pairing, contributing three goals and 16 assists while playing on the power play and penalty kill and appearing in every game.
"I couldn't believe it was happening," Suter said. "I know that I've played solid, and I know that I have a lot more to give."
Soon after his dismissal, Suter was fielding calls from other teams and being wanted boosted his outlook.
"A lot of them feel the same way I did, like you can play as long as you want," said Suter, who feels his game has actually improved over the last 10 years. "The way you play, you don't really get hit that often. You think the game. You make good, hard passes. You're in shape. You take care of your body, so all those things give me a lot of confidence that I can play after this contract if I want to."
Still, Suter characterized the last few weeks as an "emotional roller coaster" and called the most challenging part of the buyout the effect on his family.
Three of his four children were born in Minnesota, and his wife, Becky, is also from here. But the family is excited for Dallas.
There Suter will slide into a blue line that includes impressive talents in John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen. The Stars and Wild are Central Division rivals that will play four times next season.
"It's another game," said Suter, referring to the first matchup between Dallas and the Wild on Nov. 18 at Xcel Energy Center. "The guys on the team, I love those guys. They've all reached out and are excited for me. We had a really good group of guys."
Among defensemen, Suter is the Wild's all-time leader in points (369) and assists (314) after his nine seasons and 656 regular-season games — which is more than half his NHL career.
What's missing from that tenure, though, is a championship, and that will be Suter's objective with the Stars.
"I've been very fortunate with the contracts I've signed and the different places I've been, the difference experiences," Suter said. "But to win a Stanley Cup would mean the world to me, and that's what I'm going to Dallas to do."