While many folks here in Minnesota were celebrating a very warm and steamy 4th of July, a bit of news broke about ice and not the kind that many were using to keep their favorite beverages cold. It was about a huge signing of not one but two of the biggest free agents in the NHL, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Last season might have been the lowest point in franchise history. After a very promising start, the Wild struggled mightily for the rest of the season and missed the playoffs for the 4th straight year. Interest in the squad had dipped to an all time low. In my opinion, they had become the most unwatchable team in the Twin Cities. And it showed as attendance and television ratings dropped. Once a sure sellout, the team started to struggle to even sell tickets. I would never spend my hard-earned money on a team that could barely score a couple of goals a game. It was flat-out, not entertaining hockey.
The signing of Parise and Suter certainly provided a much-needed jolt into the franchise. From a business perspective, it was a brilliant move. Parise is a home town player and Suter has ties to the area as well. Teams always like to sell hope to their fans and the addition of these two players not only gives fans hope that the team will finally break their playoff drought but be contenders for many years. 1500 new season tickets have already been sold since the signings and interest in the team is bound to spike once the season starts.
The new additions are great but it does not guarantee a thing. Giving a couple of players, 13 year contracts is rather insane if you ask me!! These guys are great players but are they really worth it? I guess only time will tell but it is a huge risk. But I have to take my hat off to the Wild organization for the bold moves. It shows that they are very serious about winning and fans like that in an owner. Even this lukewarm hockey guy might have finally found the motivation to see a game or two next winter.