Bring the Boys Back Home

NHL free agency is under way and Tom Schreier wants two superstars to join the Minnesota Wild.

According to their official Twitter account, the Wild have submitted contract offers to free agents Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) and Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators).

Both players would be assets to a team trying to muster attention after four years of futility.

Paired with center Mikko Koivu, Parise should put up big numbers on the first line and allow struggling winger Dany Heatley to move to the second line. Suter would bring a strong defensive presence to a young blue line on a team that has, since its inception, been defense-oriented.

This is a pipe dream.

These are two of the league’s best free agents and the Wild is not a premier team in the league. Save for a Cinderella playoff run in 2003 and a Division Championship in 2008, the team has, for the most part, struggled since entering the league in 2000 (although, they’ve done significantly better than their expansion brethren, the Columbus Blue Jackets).

They will be courted by the league’s strongest teams right now: the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, et cetera. They will be offered millions of dollars, courted in beautiful cities and have the ability to play alongside some of the league’s best players.

So why come here?

Location is key.

Zach Parise is one of ours. He’s a Minnesotan.

He was raised in Minneapolis, his father, JP, played for the North Stars and he went to Shattuck-Saint Mary’s. He went to the University of North Dakota, but we can forgive him for that. That’s Twins territory anyway.

As for Suter, well he’s from…ah…dare I say it? Wisconsin.

Yes, they are Packer fans over there. Yes, they like Badgers. And, yes, that’s the place where Patrick Kane got really, really drunk. But, like all Sconnies, they can be forgiven.

What we can offer him is a hockey team to call his own. It’s as close to a hometown hockey team as he’s going to get unless he want to re-sign with the Preds and play for their minor league affiliate in Milwaukee (which, to be honest, would be kinda funny).

This is a team he can call his own.

Signing here goes beyond location. There is a strong young core in Minnesota—Jared Spurgeon, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Kassian and Devin Setoguchi are all under 26 years old—and the team has up-and-coming players in Mikael Granlund, Zack Phillips, Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin that should make an impact in years to come.

Then again the Kings have a young core that have proven they can win and a big city to sell them. The Flyers and Penguins are also set to win now. The Red Wings have history. And, of course, there will be other teams, say the San Jose Sharks or Toronto Maple Leafs, that may come out of nowhere and do something dramatic to woo the two superstars.

In short, other teams can offer them a lot of money. Other teams have strong players that give them a good chance to win. And other teams are capable of winning sooner and more frequently.

In order for the Wild to woo Parise and Suter they have to sell them on something very close to the heart.


Tom Schreier writes for TheFanManifesto. He can followed on Twitter at @tschreier3. Email him at tschreier3@gmail.com.

The entire FanMan team can be followed on Twitter at @TheFanManifesto, or liked on Facebook by clicking here.

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