Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/04/12 at 03:49 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Move over Vancouver Canucks. The NHL’s Northwest Division has a new emerging playoff threat - on paper anyway.
The Minnesota Wild - long considered one of the NHL’s 98-pound weaklings - flexed their muscles in a big way Wednesday by offering $98-million contracts to the two most highly sought after free agents. On the 4th of July, forward Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter, both of whom were born in the U.S., signed what will effectively be lifetime contracts with the Wild, spanning the next 13 years.
The twin signings for the Twin Cities represents a coup for the Wild’s young general manager, Chuck Fletcher, son of former Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames’ GM Cliff Fletcher. The Wild were always in the picture financially, but it was critical for Fletcher to sell the pair on the possibility that Minnesota was poised for a major on-ice turnaround as well.
The Wild boast one of the deepest prospects groups in the NH L - half-a-dozen players who starred at last year’s world junior tournament were on their reserve list - but they were just an 81-point regular-season team last season, good for 12th overall in the Western Conference.
added 1:53pm, from Damien Cox of The Spin,
The contracts make absolutely no sense, even though at least three or four other NHL teams were williing to do exactly the same deals for one or both, and there’s strong evidence throughout the NHL that players can’t possibly perform at a high enough level to rationalize these deals.
But the Wild apparently don’t care, and their fans probably don’t either
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