The Minnesota Wild could be headed for a free-agent jackpot. At least that's where the wind's blowing on July 4.
The Wild pitched coveted free-agent forward Zach Parise earlier this week over the phone. They flew out and met with coveted free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter on Tuesday at his farm in Madison, WI.
According to Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune, they did one of the players' buddies a solid, too:
The Wild's certainly putting out all the stops. On that plane trip with agent Neil Sheehy yesterday, the Wild agreed to terms with center Jake Dowell to a two-year deal (two-way in Year 1, one-way in Year 2).
Not only is Dowell buddies with Suter after playing together at Wisconsin, he's also friends with Parise. The 27-year-olds played together in world-under-18's (gold medal) and the world junior championships.
Parise told Josh Rimer on Tuesday night that he's been talking with fellow free agent Suter throughout their courtship by NHL teams, and that the two of them playing for the Minnesota Wild … well, "just the thought of that would be really cool."
Early Wednesday morning, former NHL GM and agent Brian Lawton tweeted that "not sure yet on Parise but word is Ryan Suter will be playing for the MN Wild next season!"
The Wild have just over $15.6 million in cap space for next season. If the contract figures Suter was reportedly getting from the Detroit Red Wings are close, he could come in at a $6.9 million cap hit. Parise could also be given a cap friendly, frontloaded deal to massage his hit — money, after all, is no object in their pursuit of Parise.
If nothing else, it seems as though Parise and Suter might be a package deal. It doesn't mean they'll both be members of the Minnesota Wild — heck, they could be Detroit Red Wings for all we know.
Their decisions are expected on Independence Day, which in fact is the most cliché thing two unrestricted American free agents could do, not that you asked.