Every July 1st, hockey fans sit back, turn on TSN (NHL Network's simulcast in the US), and enjoy the squirming of the anchors as they try to find a way to fill 9 hours of TV with nothing happening. At the same time, everyone watches for any news about what the big free agent is going to do. There's always one big free agent. Except this year... there looks to be two.
Minnesota Wild fans are locked in on Zach Parise, leaving Ryan Suter to the dogs, so to speak. The problem is, Suter would fill a much larger gap in the Wild's roster than Parise would. Sure, the WIld need some guys that can score, but they also need someone to anchor a soft blueline for years to come.
Defense isn't sexy. It doesn't sell, and it doesn't market well. You know what it does do? Win hockey games. If it were me, I go hard after Suter and then turn to see if Parise is still around. Of course, if the odds are better for Parise to come here, maybe that's what you need to do. It's not going to be easy to convince him to come here, and it's not going to be fun to watch him go somewhere else.
Maybe he'll just re-sign in Nashville and everyone can be happy. Sure would be nice to see him here, though.
JS: The ''other'' big fish. Arguably the one the Wild needs the most right now, but the difference here is that there are actually other viable options on the free agent market if Suter falls into another team's lap (which I feel is increasingly likely for some reason). I know the Wild will make a push, but I hope they don't put all their eggs in that basket while other teams grab the other viable options.
VERDICT: Probably 6-9 years, around 6- 6.75 million per year.
Bryan: The odds are really slim here. My adjusted odds have Suter coming here at a .001% chance. I just don't see it. The teams who win are going to be after Suter, and those same teams have a hell of a package to offer. All of this will likely end up with Suter going elsewhere, especially if he feels he is the Wild's second choice. It is extremely difficult to even guess at what Suter wants, as he has given absolutely nothing on the topic.
Suter is a game changer. He would make the Wild instantly better, and would be a guy Wild fans would learn to love. He is not the guy the Wild need to sell tickets, which will make him a second priority. Which is truly unfortunate.
If the Wild can pull this one off, Chuck Fletcher needs to have a statue built immediately. You can hope all you want, but I wouldn't bet anything of value here.
Verdict: 8 years, $60-70 million (cap hit from $7.5 to $8.75 million)