The Minnesota Wild have not enjoyed much success since their inception, but the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will help turn their fortunes around.
ESPN reports that the two free agents have signed with the Wild, each for a contract of $98 million over 13 years. While the cost is high, it will pay large dividends down the road.
There is no question Minnesota needed immediate help. Not only did the team finish the year with a losing record and miss the playoffs, but they struggled to score all year long. The 177 goals scored were 17 fewer than anyone else in the NHL.
Parise and Suter will instantly upgrade the struggling offense. Parise helped the New Jersey Devils reach the Stanley Cup finals with his ability to score as well as pass. He is only a few years removed from a 94-point season and could return to that level soon.
Suter will be there to strengthen the defense, but is also one of the best facilitators in the league. His 39 assists is tied for sixth in the NHL among defensemen.
Each player will also bring a great amount of leadership and experience to a young team that needs it. All of a sudden a team that was able to win with an average defense and below average offense will be that much better.
Just as important, the Wild have improved the organization for the future as well. Minnesota has enjoyed great fan support, but there is only so much losing a city can take. The club has not reached the postseason in the last four years. Only once in the franchise's 11 seasons has the team advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
Attendance has gone down in the past two years, and more losing seasons would only make things worse. Fortunately, the acquisition of two 27-year-old stars in their prime should right the ship.
In addition, the fact that Parise is a local Minnesotan should create even more excitement around the arena.
One the ice, the new acquisitions will be able to mentor the younger players to help turn the team into contenders in the near future. The winning culture will also help entice more quality free agents.
The Wild spent a lot of money on two players, but the return on their investment will no doubt be worth the cost.
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