The 2012 NHL free-agent class has been picked clean of its top two free agents, and on the Fourth of July, the Minnesota Wild became the instant winners of the offseason by picking up New Jersey captain Zach Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter.
Minnesota is hoping that the duo of American Olympians can bring a new attitude and star power to the Wild, who have flown under the radar since the 2002-2003 season, when they reached the Western Conference finals.
Anything but a small-market team, the Wild have lacked real star power since their superstar sniper Marian Gaborik bolted to New York in free agency. The Wild had hoped to build an impressive first line around Captain Mikko Koivu by adding former San Jose Sharks forwards Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, but injuries derailed their most recent campaign, resulting in choosing seventh overall in the recent NHL entry draft.
By adding the two biggest names in free agency, the Wild committed just under $200 million to Parise and Suter through the course of the next 13 years. To justify those contracts and to keep the team afloat after spending the second biggest amount of money in the NHL,the Wild will need to consistently make the playoffs, and eventually win the Stanley Cup.
However, there are a number of factors as to why the Wild just might not be able to compete for Lord Stanley as soon as most people think.