BY RENATA GABRIELLA KUZMA – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
The ever-lingering “Parise Watch” finally came to an end Wednesday as former New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise chose the Minnesota Wild for his relocation. But that wasn’t the biggest surprise, as former Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Suter joined him as well, with the pair signing identical 13-year, $98 million contracts.
It was made clear that both free agents had an impact on each others’ decision, and the duo are no strangers to playing together. In 2003 and 2004 they were teammates on the USA world junior teams. In 2005 and 2007, they were again both on the USA world championship teams. And in 2010, the two were selected for the USA Olympic Team, earning them a silver medal. Suter was named assistant captain for that team, and Canadians surely cannot forget Parise’s game-tying goal at 35 seconds left of the third period.
Three days after the start of free agency, Parise kept hockey fans in suspense, constantly refreshing Twitter feeds to find out if the coveted left winger had finally made his decision. Would he be enticed by the mega offer from Philadelphia? Might he choose to linemate Sidney Crosby with the Pittsburgh Penguins, or maybe join Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews in Chicago? Or would he stick around in New Jersey with the newly re-signed Martin Brodeur and shoot for another long playoff run with the Devils?
Though the Wild haven’t won any Stanley Cups since the birth of their franchise, the ‘State of Hockey’ will surely add value to its nickname with the addition of these star players. It is the long-term contracts of key playmakers that will seal the exciting fate of the Wild in years to come. Developing depth, signing big names to the roster, and adding missing pieces of the puzzle is what stellar management does… something Leaf fans haven’t seen in a while.
Parise scored 31 goals and 38 assists last season with the Devils, while Suter earned a career high 46 points from 39 assists and seven goals with the Predators. The addition of an effective defenceman and power forward to round out the roster is guaranteed to bring positive long-term changes to the hockey club.
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