Blockbuster: Minnesota wins Zach Parise and Ryan Suter sweepstakes — for $196 million

194 Comments

The Minnesota Wild have officially won free agency.

That’s the big news on this July 4 holiday as the Wild announced they’ve landed both of this year’s prize UFAs — former Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter and former New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise.

The deals cost Minnesota a fortune. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the pair got matching 13-year, $98 million contracts, meaning both will have an average annual cap hit of $7.54 million.

And yes, the Wild just dropped $196 million dollars.

This will go down as one of, if not the, biggest days in franchise history. The Wild instantly become a Western Conference contender and may have shifted the landscape in terms of free agent philosophy — in a market where heavy hitters like Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh were all angling for Suter and Parise’s services, a team that’s missed the playoffs four straight years (and never been considered a big spender) reeled in the two biggest fish.

Notes

— Turns out Lou Nanne was right all along.

According to Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, Nashville’s offer to retain Suter was 13 years, $90 million.

TSN’s Darren Dreger says Wild players are “ecstatic” about the signings. Dany Heatley has reportedly been in contact with both Parise and Suter. “Both asked: can we win,” Dreger tweeted.  “Answer: yes.”

— Based on annual cap hit, Parise and Suter are now the NHL’s seventh and eighth highest-paid players. Only Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Eric Staal, Rich Nash and Vincent Lecavalier average more per year.

— Next season, the Wild will have $35.2 million (roughly half of the $70.2 salary cap) committed to five players — Parise, Suter, Heatley, Mikko Koivu and Niklas Backstrom.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

Getty
Leave a comment

These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

Video will be added to give you better context for the goal, but until then, check out this GIF of the key moments:

If nothing else, Frederik Andersen looks confident:

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

Getty
Leave a comment

It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
3 Comments

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.