Wild buying out final 4 years of Parise and Suter contracts

Published 1:31 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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After signing with Minnesota together, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are being bought out together.

The Wild announced Tuesday that the team is buying out the final four years of each player’s contract, a stunning move early in the NHL offseason.

Parise and Suter signed identical $98 million, 13-year contracts on July 4, 2012, and now they’ll go back into free agency together on July 28.

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“There were numerous factors that entered into the difficult decision to buy out their contracts,” said general manager Bill Guerin, who took over the job in 2019 after Chuck Fletcher was fired. “But primarily these moves are a continuation of the transformation of our roster aimed at the eventual goal of winning a Stanley Cup.”

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.

The buyouts 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.

“I want to thank Zach and Ryan for everything they did for our organization over the past nine seasons, both on and off the ice,” owner Craig Leipold said. “They were tremendous ambassadors for our team and helped us win a lot of games. I wish them nothing but the best going forward.”

Minnesota made the playoffs eight times in nine seasons since signing Parise and Suter but never got past the second round. That includes a loss in the qualifying round of the 2020 bubble playoffs.

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

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 Cup Final, was a healthy scratch at times this past season when he put up 18 points in 45 games. He played only four of Minnesota’s seven playoff games, a first-round loss to Vegas.