Minnesota Wild buy out Parise and Suter contracts

Jul 12, 2021, 9:23 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2021, 1:08 pm

Nine years after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed twin contracts together worth nearly $200 million with the Minnesota Wild, they are being bought out together in a stunning turn of events early in the NHL offseason.

General manager Bill Guerin made the announcement Tuesday that the team is buying out the final four years of each player’s contract, which were originally structured to last 13 years. It is a sudden end for a tenure that began with such promise when the two American stars signed identical $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012.

Perhaps it was only fitting they were a package deal on the way out like they were on the way in. Parise and Suter will enter free agency at the same time July 28.

“It seemed like the right thing to do,” Guerin told reporters. “I felt this was the cleanest way. This way gives them more of an opportunity to go out and do what they can do.”

Parise and Suter were signed through 2025 at matching salary cap hits of $7.538 million each year. The buyouts save over $10 million next season but extend dead money on the cap through 2029. They will combine to cost the Wild almost $15 million against the salary cap in 2023-24 and 2024-25 for Parise and Suter not to play for them.

“Those years will be tough, but we’re going to have to do a very good job of drafting players and a very good job of developing players and injecting some younger, cheaper players into our lineup,” said Guerin, who took over in 2019 when longtime GM Chuck Fletcher was fired. “This is a great opportunity for some of those guys.”

Owner Craig Leipold, who spearheaded the master plan to add two upper Midwest products in the same free agent year in 2012, called Parise and Suter, “tremendous ambassadors for our team” who helped win a lot of games.

Minnesota made the playoffs eight times in nine seasons since signing Parise and Suter but never got past the second round. That includes a first-round exit this season.

That defeat, plus the Seattle expansion draft next week and emergence of younger players paved the way for the buyouts. Minnesota can now protect defenseman Matt Dumba and one other player from the Kraken instead of trading them.

“There wasn’t one big reason,” Guerin said. “It was pretty much everything together as a whole: a tough decision to make but one that I feel that we need to make.”

Suter and Parise are each 36. Parise turns 37 in late July. They will likely attract interest around the league in free agency, though for much shorter terms than last time.

“I know they both have game left, and they’re going to help another team,” Guerin said.

The speculation has already begun about Parise being a perfect fit for the New York Islanders with GM Lou Lamoriello, who drafted him with New Jersey. And Boston would easily be able to slide Suter into Torey Krug’s old spot on the left side of the blue line.

No team would need to commit 13 years, either. The collective bargaining agreement reached months after Suter and Parise signed in Minnesota limited contract lengths to seven years for free agents and eight for players re-upping with their current team.

Suter in his prime with Nashville and Minnesota averaged more than more than half a point a game as one of hockey’s best offensive defensemen. His production dipped to 19 points during the just completed 56-game season, though he still skated more than 22 minutes a night.

Parise, who was coming off a 69-point season in 2011-12 when he captained New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final, was a healthy scratch at times this past season when he put up 18 points in 45 games. He played in four games during Minnesota’s seven-game loss to Vegas.

“We saw what happened with Zach this year and we weren’t going to be able to give him the opportunity that maybe we thought we were,” Guerin said. “This will be better for them.”


Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, number 8, attends a practice session at Hanbury Manor in ...
Associated Press

QB Jones set to start for Giants against Packers in London

WARE, England (AP) — Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is expected to start in New York’s game against the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after participating fully in practice on Friday. Jones sprained his left ankle last Sunday and was limited in midweek practices before the London trip but didn’t receive an injury status […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Lawyer charged in bottle throwing incident at Browns game

CLEVELAND (AP) — An attorney who was arrested for throwing a water bottle at Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam at the end of a home game last month has been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct by intoxication. Jeffrey Miller, 51, of Rocky River, is scheduled to appear in Cleveland Municipal Court on Oct. 20. A […]
1 day ago
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers trains at The Grove in Chandler's Cross, England, Frida...
Associated Press

Rodgers eager to air it out in Packers’ 1st London game

WATFORD, England (AP) — Aaron Rodgers may need to have a little chat with Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur about the game plan for the Packers’ first game in London. After arriving in the British capital on an overnight flight, LaFleur was quick to tout the importance of the run game on Sunday against […]
1 day ago
FILE - Police officers and soldiers stand amid tear gas smoke after clashes between fans during a s...
Associated Press

Soccer’s worst disasters: Same mistakes by police, fans die

Police fire tear gas into a crowd of soccer fans, who panic and rush for the exits. There are so many trying to escape and some of the gates are locked. The stadium becomes a death trap. People are trampled in the desperation. Others suffocate, crushed by the weight of bodies around them. They are […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Iran forward Azmoun doubtful for World Cup with calf injury

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Iran forward Sardar Azmoun is a doubt for the World Cup after picking up an injury while warming up for Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga club said late Thursday that the 27-year-old Azmoun is expected to miss six to eight weeks after tearing a muscle in his right calf in the warm-up […]
1 day ago
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) walks out to greet teammates after a field goal durin...
Associated Press

Wilson shoulders blame as Broncos fall 12-9 to Colts in OT

DENVER (AP) — Russell Wilson had a chance to put the game away late. He threw an interception in the end zone. The Denver Broncos quarterback had another shot to win the game in overtime. He threw a game-ending incompletion on fourth-and-short while never looking at an uncovered receiver. Brought in for moments such as […]
1 day ago
Minnesota Wild buy out Parise and Suter contracts