Silver Nuggets: Wild as Contenders?

Because it is the summer, there isn't always a Senators related story that comes to mind to write about. And when you consider that the two biggest free agents in the league both signed with the same team yesterday, it is the kind of story I couldn't pass up.

Yesterday the Minnesota Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to contracts worth $98 million over 13 long years. Based on his goal production last season, Parise would have been the top goal scorer on the Wild. Suter, would have been the top assist man. They are PREMIER players, there is no doubt about it. They are all-around, leadership type players that teams build around.

But are they enough?

Sure, the Wild pulled a practical joke on the league at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season and flirted with top spot in the league. That lasted until they regressed back to the mean and were terrible, finishing just outside of a lottery position.

They have some pieces. In addition to Parise and Suter, they have underrated and overpaid (is that a thing?) centre Mikko Koivu, not to mention the ghost of Dany Heatley and the criminally streaky Devon Setoguchi. They have quality two-way centre Matty Cullen and NHL future HHOF'er Zenon Konopka (wait, who let Brennan write some of my intro?). They have two excellent goalies in Nick Backstrom and Josh Harding. They also have one of the top prospect systems in the NHL with players like Mikael Granland and Charlie Coyle up front and Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba on the back end.

But at the NHL level, unless Suter is going to smuggle Shea Weber with him in his suitcase and have both of them play 60 minutes a night, they are going to have some issues. Jared Spurgeon was a pleasant surprise last season, but after him they have Tom Gilbert and .... Clayton Stoner? Who else? They are very thin on defence to say the least. has a poll right now that I will replicate for you, and I'm honestly curious to see what you guys think. I think the Wild improved their team yesterday, but this is hockey, not basketball. Adding one or two players does not make the same difference that it does in other sports, and so as of right now, until some of their prospects develop, I don't see Minnesota as a contender.

Sens Links:

  • Adnan doesn't disappoint, penning an article on the merits of signing Alexander Semin after we discussed it in the Nuggets yesterday. Do I think Semin is the BEST fit? No, but I think we could do a lot worse, and Adnan (and Mark in the comments) makes some good arguments. [SSS]
  • Really cool little story on Cody Ceci that was in one of the local Newspapers in Ottawa. Nice interview about how he is excited to play in his hometown. [EMC]
  • Mark Stone wants to be an NHL player in the fall and isn't shy about admitting it. I think the position battles in camp this year will be more intense than any we have seen in the last few years with Stone, Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad, Shane Prince, Stefen Noesen and Mike Hoffman all pushing for very few spots. [Sens]
  • And here is some love for Bob Lowes, the Senators western league scout who really pushed for Stone to be selected, though he admits he never dreamed Stone would be as good as he is. [Sens]
  • The master of the interview transcription, Nichols has a really honest one from Tim Murray on the site today. Murray doesn't pull punches about players and teams (taking a shot at Columbus), but as always comes to us with good info. [6thSens]
  • A funny one from the 6th Sens as they "acquired" an exclusive letter from Eugene Melnyk to fans about the Rick Nash fiasco. [6thSens]

League News

  • Biggest news in the league was obviously the signing of both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter by the Minnesota Wild to identical 13 year 98 million dollar deals. [NHL]
  • After the big day for the wild, Ken Warren looks at how that impacts and contrasts with the "leagues most hapless franchise" the Columbus Blue Jackets. [Warren]

What are your expectations for the Minnesota Wild in 2012-13?

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