ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – It became a happy Fourth of July holiday for Minnesota Wild officials after it became official that they had signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Both are considered top tier NHL players at their positions, and both signed identical 13-year, $98 million contracts to play for the Wild. The pair was introduced at a news conference Monday at Xcel Energy Center.
Parise, who wore No. 9 while playing with the New Jersey Devils, will wear No. 11 for the Wild. Suter will wear the same No. 20 that he wore for the Nashville Predators. In an interesting and somewhat comical exchange, both Parise and Suter tried on their new Wild jerseys at Monday’s news conference. Both players discovered the “A” letters, signifying that they’ll both be assistant captains this season.
The Wild has missed the NHL playoffs in each of the past four seasons. Signing Parise and Suter not only makes them an instant playoff team, the odds makers in Las Vegas changed the Wild’s odds of winning the Stanly Cup from 200-1 to 22-1. It’s without question the biggest free agent signings for Wild owner Craid Leipold and general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Both players were offered more money to play for other organizations, but both decided playing for Minnesota was the best fit. Suter is one of the top defensemen in the NHL, and Parise is considered a top-10 forward. In seven NHL seasons, Parise has scored less than 30 goals only twice.
Both players also have local ties. Parise is from Minnesota and now lives in Orono. His father, J.P. Parise, played in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars. Zach Parise was a collegiate star at the University of North Dakota. Suter played his collegiate hockey for Wisconsin and his wife is from Bloomington.