So the myth is true that money grows on trees. It appears these trees grow outside the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St Paul, Minnesota. This is because the Minnesota Wild have pulled off the coup of the summer and signed both Zack Parise and Ryan Suter, the top two free agents in the NHL this offseason. They both signed identical contracts worth 98 million dollars over 13 years for an average of just over 7.5 million per year. However, both contracts are heavily front loaded with Parise and Suter getting 12 million the first two year and it tailing off until a paltry 1 million for the 2024-25 season, which for all intents and purposes seems eons in the future.

Understandably, people in Minnesota are freaking out right now. It’s an incredible feat by GM Chuck Fletcher and the team. This has led to predictions by various hockey pundits that the Wild are now relevant in the NHL and become Cup contenders. While they have become relevant, it hasn’t shot them into the upper echelon of elite teams just yet. Parise can team with Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu to form a potent first line, while Suter will anchor the blueline corps. However, there’s not that much depth beyond that first line with guys like Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard not being high scorers. Clayton Stoner, Steven KampferĀ  or Jared Spurgeon aren’t defensemen you usually think of when trying to decide the best. They are talented, but will need to produce more for the team to reach the 90 point plateau that is required to even get in the playoffs.

I’m not totally ragging on the Wild, I just think some are jumping to conclusions way too fast. Sure the Wild front office is doing it to possibly whip the fans into a frenzy so they buy more tickets and merchandise, as if hockey mad Minnesota needed any convincing at all. Teams always look better on paper, so let’s wait until the season starts to see how they actually perform. Still Wild fans can enjoy the euphoria of their team landing the two biggest free agents of the summer and the Red Wings, Devils and Penguins can start working on Plan B.