A little more than nine years after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed two blockbuster contracts with the Minnesota Wild on a massive fourth of July, the time with the Wild for both players is over. With four more years left on their deal, the Wild and GM Bill Guerin have bought out the contracts. Once again on the same day and time. Once again, a move that is a complete bombshell on the Wild as a franchise and the NHL itself.
During their time with the Wild both Parise and Suter had mixed success. While the Wild managed to make the playoff in seven of the nine years they never managed to make it past the second round with the Wild. Parise produced 400 points in his 558 games with the Minnesota Wild, and Suter leads the league in ice time for many of his seasons with the Wild. However, signs of declining form were showing, and eventually, it led to them both being bought out.
A Massive Risk For The Wild
When Parise and Suter signed in 2012, it was two massively bloated contracts. 13 years at $7.775 million against the cap each season, and while they were fine in the first few seasons, it is becoming a rough situation over the past three seasons. Age has started to catch up to them and with an offseason where the Wild need to resign Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala while making another step towards becoming a cup contender, the writing was starting to be on the wall. Especially for Parise.
However, buying out both is a major surprise and a major gamble. The clear and obvious thing is the dead cap that the Wild will have to shallow over the next eight years. Especially in years three and four will be ridiculously difficult to manage for the Wild since they will have $14 million of dead cap. In year one, two and after year four it will be far more manageable, however. However, for the two years, the Wild will need to be incredibly smart to make it cost them a step or three in the pursuit to win the Stanley Cup. The Wild lost in seven games to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Reasons It Makes Sense For The Wild:
So why do it? Well, first of all, Bill Guerin has stated that he has been thinking about this move for at least six months, so it’s by no means a reactionary move, and after the first glance and a bit of thought, it sort of has some logic to it from the Wild perspective. The main one being ahead of the Seattle expansion draft.
With Suter and Parise off the books, the Wild can make the 7-3-1 which is by far the preferred method, while also protecting Matt Dumba, Jordan Greenway, Nico Sturm, and Marcus Foligno. Suddenly the options have opened and keeping Dumba, Greenway and Sturm is a huge achievement for the Wild. They are all major parts of the future, and it was quite clear that neither Suter nor Parise was a part of it. The biggest loser of today’s news is in my opinion the Seattle Kraken, who now going to select between Carson Soucy, Cam Talbot/Kaapo Kahkonen, or Victor Rask.
Another reason for this is the freedom in year one, where the Wild suddenly has a lot of cap space available. Ten million more to be exact and they can use that to sign both Fiala and Kaprizov while potentially finding them a first-line center.
Now again this is a risk and years two to four could be very rough to work around. Especially if the cap doesn’t go up as some expect after this next season. This is where entry-level contract and bridge deals have to happen where the extremely strong prospect pool with Marco Rossi, Matthew Boldy, and Calen Addison has to come through for the Wild while making cheap and smart depth signing that can be signed for cheap. Something similar to what Nick Bjugstad recently did where he signed a one-year deal for just $900,000.
No More Fear For Recapture Penalty
Lastly but also very importantly, the Wild get away from a potential disaster by buying out both players. Both players contract was qualified for the very worrisome recapture penalty and had it been activated it would have broken the Wild completely. The recapture penalty is super technical and hard to explain, but there is a great article on hockeywildness.com which explains it in detail with the different scenarios for both Suter and Parise.
In short, however, had it happened and had both players retired at any point the Wild would be a disaster where the Wild would pay a massive amount of money each year, and at the worst-case scenario: The wild would have to deal with $40,307,692 for the 2023-2024 season in dead cap. That would require the Wild to trade everyone. From players to the lunch lady. It would be a disaster and by buying out them both they can avoid this nightmare and move on from both and focus on the new core and future.
For Parise and Suter this will also be a new chance to revitalize themselves and sign for a new team at a more reasonable term and salary. Both are skilled players, but they sadly never were able to bring the cup to Minnesota like they had promised to try to do all those years ago.
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