Let the Minnesota Wild rumors run…well, wild after the team closed the Parise-Suter chapter and could open one that’s even more exciting.
The dreams that were born out of the Summer of 2012 have officially died in Minnesota.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild bought out the remaining years of contracts for both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Nearly a decade ago the two Minnesota-born star free agents came home with the goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to the State of Hockey, but leave without a handful of playoff appearances and memories instead.
The Parise-Suter era wasn’t the total failure that spin makes it sound. The Wild made the playoffs eight of the nine years the duo was leading the charge and gave fans plenty of high points that will eventually lead to a ruckus welcome back whenever they return for potential uniform retirement ceremonies.
But despite the winning seasons, the Wild never made it further than the second round of the playoffs and the decline in top-level play from the two stars was evident dating back to 2019.
With Parise and Suter gone, the Wild are very clearly signaling that this is the dawn of a new era for the franchise. According to Michael Russo from The Athletic, the Wild will save roughly $10 million by buying out Parise and Suter, which means this offseason just got a lot more interesting.
Minnesota Wild Rumors: Wild gearing up for a major offseason move?
With $10 million extra to play with this offseason, the Wild can go in a number of different directions when it comes to installing a new core of young talent to try and do what Parise and Suter failed to.
Re-sign Kevin Fiala
The deconstruction of the Wild core began a few years ago when Mikael Granlund was traded to Nashville. Granlund was the young centerpiece of the Wild roster meant to supplement the veteran talent of Parise and Suter.
When Granlund was traded, the Wild never truly figured out the next move the team needed to make and have been treading roster water ever since.
But one of the best moves the Wild front office made was bringing in Kevin Fiala, who was shipped to Minnesota in that Granlund trade. The Wild have a chance to lock up Fiala as a piece of its core moving forward, which would finally bring positive resolution to the Granlund trade that signaled the first rumblings of this new era dawning.
Make Kirill Kaprizov the new face of the franchise
Assuming he doesn’t stay in Russia, like the weird rumors that popped up earlier last month implied, the Wild have a true No. 1 superstar in Kirill Kaprizov. In his rookie season, Kaprizov showed fans in Minnesota everything they’ve been dreaming of in a franchise player, and he has the chance to succeed both Marion Gaborik and Zach Parise as the next homegrown talent to wear a Wild sweater (Parise played the first part of his career with the Devils, but he grew up in Minnesota and around the North Stars with his father J.P. Parise).
Locking Kaprizov into a long-term deal that makes him the centerpiece of the franchise is important not only from an on-ice perspective but it shows that the Wild are building something that has direction. For a team that has stumbled through the last handful of seasons without much of a plan beyond each season, having Kaprizov to build around is absolutely crucial to the Wild ushering in a new era for the franchise.
Add a No. 1 center, possibly Jack Eichel
Rumors of a Jack Eichel trade out of Buffalo have been bubbling for months, and the Wild have been mentioned in almost every update of possible destinations.
The idea of trading away a former No. 1 overall pick who still hasn’t hit his prime seems as outlandish as something good happening to Minnesota Sports. So the idea of Eichel coming to Minnesota is absolutely obscene — and it’s sounding more and more like a good idea.
Eichel is only 24-years-old and was supposed to be the centerpiece the Sabres built around for the next decade-plus. Imagine the Wild getting that player and placing him in a core alongside Fiala, Kaprizov, and the recently re-signed Joel Erikson-Ek.
Fans in Minnesota were over the moon with excitement about a future with Parise and Suter when they signed in 2012, but that’s nothing compared to what it would be to watch any combination of Eichel, Kaprizov, Eriksson-Ek, and Fiala on the ice at the same time together for the Wild.
The State of Hockey would be back in a big way, and Minnesota has the means and motivation to make it happen.