Jim Souhan: The Wild takes a big risk, but it likely beats alternative

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2012 - 1:04 AM

The Wild had to do something to raise its profile and improve its chances to win.

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pazalunaJul. 7, 12 8:26 PM

there will be an nhl season next year but not a full one. the wild will not make the playoffs.

wisstinks2Jul. 8, 1210:30 AM

i'm taking a positive view of this deal. If the Wild didnt pull the trigger, they would be woefully inept and not make the playoffs for 3 more yrs. The loyal hard working fans of Minnesota will be fully entrenched in the MLL, Major Lacrosse League because the Wild will be irrelevent.

minneg56Jul. 8, 1211:55 AM

Wild has leeched off the local fans and NHL since its inception. They relied on - and excessively took advantage of an EXTENDED honeymoon period with the fans and the 'new X' (now what 11 year old) arena. They leeched off the other NHL clubs and it came to the point that other NHL clubs couldn't GIVE away tickets when Wild came to their building. Wild has not had any players other than Gaborik who was worth going to see. And he only played when he felt like it! No opposing club's fans had any reason to want to spend money to see Wild which really took money from opposing clubs bottom line. So Wild really owed the Parise/Suter move to their fans and the other clubs in the league.

goalieguruJul. 8, 1212:18 PM

Minneg - Some of you people think that every team can just go out and acquire talent at will. The NHL is probably the most diluted in terms of top tier talent available year after year (both free angents and young quality drafted players) due to the regional nature of youth hockey and the number of pro teams - too many in my opinion. Also, you have to have the program going in the right direction to attract big name players. Money is obviously a big part of it and it's really an anti or enabler but if the current regime was not in place and didn't draft and acquire the players they did last year, we wouldn't be reading these articles about Parise and Suter. The Wild are NO different than any other team that was lousy and now looks good on paper because of the good work of a GM. They don't owe anything to the fans because of years past. All of this is part of a strategic development plan. Now I won't say they knew the Parise Suter situation would end up like it did but I can bet they planned for something like this to hopefully happen.

minneg56Jul. 8, 12 1:54 PM

goalieguru - You offer valid points. I do half agree with you- NHL IS a watered down product. Far too many teams for a niche sport. When you throw European Leagues on top of NHL you really have dilution of talent worldwide. So yes, I agree with you that one can't snap fingers and all of the sudden come up with upper tier talent. Here's where I respectfully disagree- Wild has had 11 years to work on this. They started with a clean chalk board. They didn't have to go in and undo a history of mistakes. I fully expected it would take at least 5- 6 seasons for respectability. Meaning at least first round playoff appearances (or close) after year 5 - in a league where half the clubs make the playoffs. In what field of endeavor do people keep jobs or stay in business very long if they can't make it to the top 1/2 of their field? Save for 1 season in their existence they have "stunk." Was I expecting a Cup here by now. No. I also was not expecting that they'd 'play' their fans and the sporting public as long as they had either. They've been using the 'expansion team tag' at least 6 years longer than I feel is acceptable. So yes, for this reason particularly, I feel they DO owe the fans AND the other NHL clubs these siginings- I don't buy the idea of management and ownership changes. These people are supposed know what they're doing and bring these skill so to the party- these aren't on the job training situations. They've only been in the top 50% (or close) of the league for 1/3 of their existence!

joe777Jul. 8, 12 2:05 PM

Sorry to digress but I will pick up Jim's one reference to the Mauer contract. Bill Smith was in an no-win situation; spend too much money to keep him or let him go and risk the wrath of the fan base and second guessers. But the size of Mauer's contract severely limits this small market team from spending money elsewhere on necessary talent, one of the side effects of a contract like this as Jim pointed out.

ericgus55Jul. 8, 12 2:08 PM

Souhan's point about salaries trending upward is one that is frequently overlooked by casual fans or continuous critics. Mauer's contract was huge when he signed it, and by the end it will be well above average, but not huge by the standards of that time. Same goes for these two contracts. They're both very generous today, but twelve years down the road they could well be a bargain. If one of these guys gets hurt, then the contract could be a burden, but that's always a risk. Either of these two turning out to be a healthy bust is unlikely, because of the work ethic and leadership they've always shown, and neither one is supposed to be a Gaborik-type star. They are both lunchpail-type guys, not moody superstars.

scenic61Jul. 8, 12 3:23 PM

References to Mauer here are irrelevant since the Twins and MLB do not have a salary cap. The Pohlad's are free to spend their money the way they want and how much they want whenever they want. Since the NHL does have a salary cap, the Parise and Suter contracts were structured to be cap friendly for their duration. We should not be comparing the Wild and the Twins when it comes to player contracts.

ranger1873Jul. 9, 12 3:36 PM

Both contracts decline in value after 2019, at which point in time they may even become trade assets should the team decide to rebuild even though the cap hit is the same amount throughout the contract. Yes, the contracts are long but the way they are structured as front-end loaded deals makes good sense.

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