Free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have both agreed to terms with the Minnesota Wild, giving the franchise the two biggest prizes of this summer's NHL free agency period, according to reports on Twitter.
The Star Tribune's Michael Russo reported that the Wild and Suter, a top defenseman, agreed to a 13-year deal. ESPN's Pierre LeBrun first reported the Parise deal was completed.
Rumors have floated in recent days that the two free agents have been in communication and would be a package deal. The matching contracts have led to speculation on Twitter that those rumors were correct, and the two were working in tandem.
Parise, a left wing, helped lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. He scored 31 goals last season. He is a Minnesota native, which made some believe he would return home during free agency. He reportedly was pursued by many teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Suter, an All-Star defenseman with the Nashville Predators last season, is also a Midwest native. He is originally from Wisconsin. The Tennessean's Josh Cooper reports that Suter had an offer of $90 million over 13 years to stay with Nashville.
The Wild will certainly improve with the addition of the duo, but the team needs to make a lot of progress to become a contender. Minnesota finished 12th in the Western Conference last season.
The Northwest division was weak, with only the Vancouver Canucks making the playoffs. The $196-million spending spree shows Minnesota is serious about winning now. According to capgeek.com, the team now has the second-highest projected payroll heading into next season. But exactly how much the acquisitions of Parise and Suter will help remains to be seen. Many seem to think the additions of Parise and Suter are enough for the Wild to make the postseason. Any further progress is uncertain, though.