Zach Parise to Wild: Package Deal Makes Minnesota Favorites out West

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Zach Parise to Wild: Package Deal Makes Minnesota Favorites out West

When the 2012 NHL free agency started, there were two names that everyone was talking about: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

The Former Devils captain and star forward was the most coveted player on the market, but the Minnesota Wild shocked the world and signed the star to a 13-year contract, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Minnesota also managed to snag the best defensive player and second best player period in Ryan Suter, locking him up for 13 years as well.

While there will naturally be questions about how this team will mesh, the tables in the Western Conference have turned and the Wild have to be considered one of the favorites coming into next season.

Move over Detroit, Minnesota’s back!

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The Offensive Touch

Minnesota had a mediocre season in 2011-2012, finishing 12th in the Western Conference and having the lowest goals per game average of any team in the NHL.

That won’t happen anymore.

Adding Zach Parise to a cast of characters that already includes Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi will mean the young offense can be productive at both ends of the ice.

While Parise brings a great offensive touch, his work ethic and responsibility in his own zone are what make him elite.

With the offensive touch added to bring all the pieces together, let's talk about where the Wild were already stellar: the defensive end.

Defensive Prowess

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The Minnesota Wild were already one of the best defensive teams in the NHL, while also boasting a goalie combination of Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom that would leave many franchises happy with just one.

Now that the team signed former Nashville Predator Ryan Suter as well, he will be able to flourish as the all-around defender most teams know he can be.

There will be no Shea Weber to steal the spotlight, so Suter will run the point on the powerplay, control the penalty kill and be the best shut-down defender on the team.

With the steps back the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators took this offseason, there is little doubt that the Wild are going to make a splash in the Western Conference next season.

Check back for more on the National Hockey League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NHL page to get your fill of all things hockey.

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