The decisions on both Ryan Suter's and Zach Parise's futures boiled down to just a single decision: Did they want to play on the same team with one another?
That answer, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, is yes.
Russo broke the news on Wednesday afternoon that the two American-born stars have agreed to terms with the Minnesota Wild, instantly making July 4 the biggest day in the franchise's history. Both deals are 13-years long with Parise and Suter each making $98 million over the term, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.
According to LeBrun, here's how the contacts breakdown:
Year 1: $2 million base salary + $10 million signing bonus = $12 million
Year 2: $2 million base salary + $10 million signing bonus = $12 million
Year 3: $6 million base + $5 million signing bonus = $11 million
Years 4-8: $9 million base
Year 9: $8 million base
Year 10: $6 million base
Year 11: $2 million base
Years 12-13: $1 million base
The $7.53 million cap hits for both leave the Wild with just over $500,000 in room, according to CapGeek.
Parise had said on Josh Rimer's "NiteCap" show on Tuesday that he and Suter had talked over the past few days, which increased chatter that the pair were strongly thinking about signing somewhere together. It's not quite LeBron James and Chris Bosh taking their talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade, but it now gives the Wild an identity for a team that's missed the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.
The Wild? It hasn't won a playoff round since 2003 and was selling a core of prospects, a potential of a promising future and the chance to be a hero.
In others words, a lot of maybes.
But in a league where there's no guarantees you can go to a team and win a Stanley Cup every year, the Wild worked to sell both Parise and Suter that they can be the two players, who along with captain, Mikko Koivu could help shape a franchise for the next dozen or so years.
It sounds like the Wild was very convincing.
Josh Cooper of the Tennessean reports that the Nashville Predators' best offer to Suter was 13 years, $90 million, but the allure of playing in Minnesota and with his buddy Parise, along with family reasons were the deciding factors.
"I think disappointment would not adequately describe the word I would like to choose," Predators GM David Poile told Cooper after the Suter decision. "Disappointed and little surprised based on all the conversations we've had." He also said the Predators weren't able to match Minnesota's offer.
On a conference call with reporters, New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said that Parise's decision came down to the Wild and Devils and said "if it wasn't going home to Minnesota, it would have been coming to New Jersey." Lamoriello also mentioned that he reached out to Suter, but the now-Wild blue liner expressed no interest in coming to play in the Eastern Conference.
The excitement in Minnesota right now is so high off the charts even legends are wishing they could come back and play.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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