The Minnesota Wild bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on Tuesday, but will they come to regret making those big moves?
Entering the 2012 NHL offseason, Minnesota Wild fans and followers figured the team may sign either Zach Parise or Ryan Suter, but surely not both. On July 4, the announcement came that both were coming aboard on matching 13-year, $98 million deals. The back end of those deals was not going to look good, but it wouldn’t matter after the team won a Stanley Cup or two.
The Wild became a regular playoff participant over the last nine years, but rarely got beyond the first round. On Tuesday, the team bought out the final four years of the contracts for both Parise and Suter.
The length of the contracts Parise and Suter signed in 2012 is no longer allowed by the NHL, which says everything. The Wild will free up $10.33 million in cap space for this year, according to Cap Friendly, but the cap ramifications of the buyouts will come quickly and remain to some degree for years down the road.
The Wild made a clean break with Parise and Suter
Parise had fallen down the pecking order this past season, as a regular healthy scratch late in the regular season and for the first three games of the playoff series against Vegas. He looked a little fresher in the four playoff games he played in, tallying two goals and assist with eight shot attempts and seven hits.
Suter remained a top pairing blue liner for the Wild this past season, playing over 22 minutes per game. But at 36 years old, reducing his ice time would have likely been a plan for next season. So the Wild may have had two disgruntled, overpaid veterans on their hands in short order. GM Bill Guerin decided to make a clean break with Suter before it turned that way with him. Parise’s relationship with the organization was clearly strained.
Guerin has completed the disassembling of the core of an underachieving roster put together by Chuck Fletcher, which his predecessor Paul Fenton didn’t earn the time to do. Opening up two spots on the Wild’s protected list for the upcoming expansion draft is ideal too.
Taking on heavy future cap consequences to buy out both Parise and Suter comes with risk. The Wild are working under an assumption the NHL salary cap will rise, which it probably will but never quite does like it does in other leagues on a percentage basis under normal circumstances. New tv deals with ESPN and Turner will help.
When it came down to it, Guerin and the Wild front office made a couple tough decisions with apparent support from owner Craig Leipold to pull the plug and move forward without Parise and Suter. It was never going to end well as they approached the latter years of those bloated contracts, and there appears to be (and should be) no regret from the team’s end.