Sports

Wild buying out longtime stars Parise, Suter

The Minnesota Wild are buying out the last four years of Zach Parise‘s and Ryan Suter‘s contracts, the team announced on Tuesday.

Parise and Suter, both 36, signed matching 13-year, $98 million deals on July 4, 2012. The Wild swooped in to sign Suter away from the Predators and Parise away from the Devils, viewing the Minnesota natives as prized free-agent signings who would help shape the franchise.

“I want to thank Zach and Ryan for everything they did for our organization over the past nine seasons, both on and off the ice,” said owner Craig Leipold. “They were tremendous ambassadors for our team and helped us win a lot of games. I wish them nothing but the best going forward.”

The moves clear up two protected spaces for the Wild ahead of next week’s Seattle expansion draft. Parise and Suter both had no-movement clauses.

According to sources, Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin called Parise and Suter to inform them of the team’s decision this week and both players have the desire to keep playing.

Guerin has been with the Wild since 2019, and is the third general manager in the Parise and Suter era. Chuck Fletcher, who initially signed Parise and Suter, is now the GM of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Zach and Ryan have been an integral part of the Wild’s success over the past nine years and we’ll always be grateful for their many contributions,” Guerin said in a statement. “There were numerous factors that entered into the difficult decision to buy out their contracts, but primarily these moves are a continuation of the transformation of our roster aimed at the eventual goal of winning a Stanley Cup.”

Parise, a winger, and Suter, a defenseman, helped Minnesota to a run of six straight playoff appearances immediately after arriving. The Wild missed the postseason only once in the Parise and Suter era, but the team never made it past the second round.

The Wild’s top priority this offseason is signing 24-year-old winger Kirill Kaprizov to an extension — presumably to be the next face of the franchise. Kaprizov, who scored 27 goals in 55 games last season, became the first Wild player to take home the Calder Trophy.

Minnesota’s second biggest priority is re-signing winger Kevin Fiala, who has flourished since coming over via trade with the Predators in 2018-19. Fiala, 24, has scored 43 goals in 114 games for the Wild over the past two seasons.

The buyouts create $10.33 million in cap space for the Wild. Minnesota will pay Parise and Suter $6.7 million each over the next eight years, but will have upward of $13 million in dead space against the cap in 2022-23 through 2024-25.

Parise scored just seven goals and 11 assists in 45 games last season, and he was a healthy scratch toward the end of the year. For his career — which includes seven years with the Devils — Parise has 393 goals and 417 assists in 1,060 regular-season games over 16 NHL seasons.

Suter scored three goals and 16 assists in 56 games last season, while playing 22:11 a night, his lowest average ice time with the Wild. Suter was an All-Star and finished second in Norris Trophy voting during his first year with Minnesota. For his career — which includes seven years with the Predators — Suter has 55 goals and 314 assists in 656 regular-season games.

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