Minnesota native Prince once implored us all to go crazy and go nuts. In the same breath, he also told us to look for a purple banana. Hey, why not?
His hometown Wild finally found their purple banana on the Fourth of July with the co-signings of American-born stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, arguably the two most coveted free agents of this NHL offseason. Both were signed to 13-year, $98 million deals.
Despite playing in the league’s sweetest arena in the one state where hockey reigns supreme, the Wild have hardly been a power over the course of their existence. In fact, this may be the only time we’ve even recognized their existence on this blog. Minnesota has missed the playoffs four straight seasons and has only reached the postseason twice since joining the league in 2000.
Bringing in the captain who led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals and the top available defenseman promise to change that history of mediocrity (or worse). Perhaps the most stunning element of the deals was Minnesota’s ability to outfox powerhouse franchises like Detroit and Pittsburgh for both players.
Though the Wild probably won’t contend for the Stanley Cup right off the bat, these signings are as much about the teams who lost out on Suter and Parise. The Red Wings in particular ihave to be smarting after losing out on Suter, who would have been a worthy replacement to retiring future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom.
Perhaps no team will be as affected by the moves as Nashville. The Predators looked to be Cup contenders heading into this year’s playoffs before flaming out in the second round against Phoenix. With former defense partner Suter gone, restricted free agent Shea Weber may decide to head elsewhere and send the Preds hurtling down a tunnel that might take years to dig out of.