Let the Wild rumpus start.
Forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter -- by far the two most coveted free agents this summer -- signed 13-year contracts, worth a reported $98 million each with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday ending days of speculation and reports of where they might end up. As some thought, the American duo opted for a dual package.
The Blackhawks had interest in both players, which apparently included making a big final push for Parise on Monday. But they are left empty-handed like the many other teams after their services.
"This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told the team's website. "We are extremely excited to add the collective skill, experience and character of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to an already promising roster. We view this as a rare opportunity for us to transform our franchise by adding two marquee players, who are both in the prime of their careers, at the same time.
"I am grateful to Zach and Ryan and I am also thankful for the substantial commitment and support of [owner] Craig Leipold throughout this process. This is a huge step forward in our quest to bring a Stanley Cup to the deserving fans of the State of Hockey."
Parise, the 17th overall pick in 2003, leaves the Devils after captaining the team to the Stanley Cup finals this past season. He has surpassed the 30-goal mark five times in his career with a career-best 45 in 2008-09. He's an aggressive forechecker, unafraid to stand in front of opposing nets and brings plenty of valuable intangibles similar to Hawks captain Jonathan Toews.
Suter, the 7th overall pick in 2003, leave the Predators where he was a stalwart on the blue line with standout Shea Weber. He's a two-way defenseman who can handle the point on the power play and ample minutes on the penalty kill. He's led the Predators, one of the best defensive teams in the league, in ice time in three of the last four seasons.
Parise, a Minnesota native, chose the Wild over sticking with the Devils and offers from the Penguins, Red Wings and Hawks. Suter, a Madison, Wis. native, decided against the Red Wings and Predators.
General manager Stan Bowman and Co. have only added one piece since free agency began on Sunday. They signed defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who was told by the Hawks he'd be their fifth or sixth blue-liner and help on the penalty kill.