Top 2012: Suter, Parise sign with Wild

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Wild owner Craig Leipold called it a “huge step forward” for the franchise.

Others called it blatant hypocrisy.

On July 4, it was announced that free agents Ryan Suter and Zack Parise had signed identical 13-year, $98 million contracts with a Minnesota team that had missed the playoffs four straight times.

Shortly thereafter, the NHL locked out the players to make sure contracts like those would never be signed again.

Among those leading the charge for the league? Leipold.

For the owners, the optics were terrible. Once again they had become their own worst enemies, signing players to deals they couldn’t afford then asking the players to bail them out.

But what was a mid-market team like the Wild supposed to do? Just let the rich clubs get all the good free agents?

Hockey fans know all the arguments by now, and they’re sick of hearing them.

What’s not known is if Suter and Parise were worth all the fuss. Because for all the attention they received as free agents, neither has won a Stanley Cup or a major award.