Ok, of course, it’s not breaking news, but with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter making the biggest decision of the 2012 free agency on American Independence Day, your American writers were away from the internet for a little while. With the two making their decisions, I have two topics to discuss briefly.
First, I was wrong. I had not anticipated either Parise or Suter coming to Minnesota. It’s the Minnesotan in me. We have NEVER seen anything quite like this here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes before, in any sport. A natural pessimism washes over us whenever the topic of free agency is discussed. There was no way that Parise or Suter would come here. But then they did.
Second, the question becomes “how good are the Wild?” Parise will instantly become the player expected to score the most goals for what has been a moribund offense in recent years, Suter will anchor a very young group of blue liners. Parise and Suter certainly aren’t the final pieces to a puzzle, but rather a very expensive core that will be built around.
Certainly, there are pieces already in place, from stabilizing force and captain Mikko Koivu who we haven’t seen displaying his true talent yet, as he hasn’t had any support around him offensively. They also have Dany Heatley, who has been a scorer in the past, and may be able to do so again with a little help. They have their goaltender situation figured out as well, The real appeal for Parise and Suter (aside from playing at home or with friends) is the future. Mikael Granlund is coming stateside with the promise of being a dynamic scorer. Their last two first draft picks, Jonas Brodin and Mathew Dumba play defense. Charlie Coyle, acquired as part of the Brent Burns trade, is ready to make the leap to the NHL.
The Wild, even with Parise and Suter, aren’t a great team yet, though they will be improved. It’s the next 5 years that really bear watching.