Found June 27, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
Tampa_bay_lightning_bc4b
ST. PAUL, Minn. NHL free agency begins in four days, which means Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher might be getting his fishing equipment ready. Despite having several young prospects on the verge of making the Minnesota roster, Fletcher hasn't shied from saying the next step for the franchise is reeling in the "big fish," the superstar already at the NHL level. The big fish, in the case of Sunday's start of NHL free agency, are New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. Rumors of Parise returning to his Minnesota roots have been ongoing for more than a year. Suter, who is from Wisconsin, is the top defenseman on the market and is the puck-moving, two-way defender the Wild have desired. There are other players available who could interest the Wild, but Fletcher isn't likely to cast out a wide net, at least initially. Minnesota has young players on the way and role players already in the system. Fletcher needs the big fish. "We're a team where one or two players can make a big difference," Fletcher said at his season-ending press conference. Which leads to the reports that Fletcher is willing to throw a boatload of money at Parise andor Suter, who will each have many suitors. Many have said the Wild won't be outbid for Parise, the son of former Minnesota North Stars player and coach J.P. Parise. Zach was born in Minneapolis and played prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault. Parise, 27 and a five-time 30-plus goal scorer in six NHL seasons, is regarded as the NHL's top free agent. The Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings reportedly have been interested in signing the 2009 All-Star. Parise has said he's also interested in re-signing with New Jersey, which has an exclusive negotiating window with the forward until July 1. Nashville is hoping to lock up Suter, 27, long-term before July 1, knowing teams like Detroit will try to lure its standout all-around defenseman if he makes it to unrestricted free agency. Fletcher is trying not to get caught up in, or feed, the rumor mill. "Whatever happens July 1, will happen July 1," he said two weeks ago, avoiding free agency speculation at his predraft press conference. Minnesota is in position to do everything in its power to add Parise, Suter or the pair. The Wild have more than 19 million in available cap space. If needed, more room can be cleared. "As much as you want," Fletcher said in April when asked about the team's flexibility salarywise. "We're basically down around the (salary) floor right now. We have a lot of room. You can make that a little bit less or a little bit more depending on what you want to do with it, but we have lots of cap room." Parise's hometown connection can't hurt Minnesota. He owns a home in the Twin Cities. As for Suter, the Wild acquired his former college teammate Tom Gilbert at last season's trade deadline. Fletcher didn't acknowledge the connection, but he can't be faulted for doing anything he can to bring in Suter, who would be another veteran presence on a young blue line. The speculation regarding Parise and Suter in Minnesota and nationwide has overshadowed other free agents available, such as forwards Ray Whitney, Shane Doan, Alexander Semin, Dustin Penner and Olli Jokinen, and defensemen Matt Carle, Dennis Wideman, Jason Garrison, Bryce Salvador and Brad Stuart. Fletcher wants his "big fish," though. Two recent Stanley Cup winners, the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings, only reinforce Fletcher's belief he is building the Wild the right way and the next step is bringing in a veteran star or two. He has likened his situation in Minnesota with that of Chicago, which had young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The Blackhawks' "big fish" was Brian Campbell, and Marian Hossa soon followed as Chicago won its first Stanley Cup in 49 years in 2010. Los Angeles won its first Stanley Cup this season by adding Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to a core that featured Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. "To get to that point, they built up the talent base the only way that I know how to do it," Fletcher said of the Kings first developing their young stars. "So, to me, when LA won it validates the approach we're doing. As I've said from Day 1, we're going to do everything we can to win in the present, but behind the scenes it's like a duck swimming on water. Underneath the surface our feet are going a million miles an hour trying to improve our team. It may look calm and placid up top, but believe me we've worked extremely hard to add a lot of young kids. We feel we have, and we feel that's the only way you can become a Stanley Cup-winning team. "We're getting better. It's happening. These kids are turning pro. We're going to get better. We are getting better, and that's the exciting thing. To the extent we can add some NHL talent to help it, great. But our plan hasn't changed." There's little doubt Fletcher's plan includes talking to both Parise and Suter. Now the question is whether Fletcher has the right hook and bait. "Frankly it's a year when a lot of teams have money to spend," Fletcher said. "I've looked. There's a lot of teams with a lot of money to spend. I think my only statement would be it's a good year to be a free agent." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES
MOTOR CITY MARKETING

Red Wings fans make free agent recruiting vid

With July 1st right around the corner (Sunday for those scoring at home), NHL front offices are gearing up to make their pitches to free agents. Hunting season starts then and free agents are “free” to begin signing with teams. The two biggest fish in the unrestricted free agent sea are New Jersey Devils winger Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. Naturally...

Someone wrote a song about Zach Parise if anyone wants to make it

This is why we love free agency From reader Josh K. Lyrics to "Zach Parise" to tune of "Take it Easy." These may be complete ****, not a whole lot of jobbing in there but figured I'd pass it along. Bein' King Shero, Trying to loosen some dough, I got 7 skaters on my mind. 2 I wanna re-up 4 I gotta...

More Parise To Pittsburgh Talk

from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull, For the Flyers, the bad news coming out of Pittsburgh on Thursday was that superstar Sidney Crosby had signed a 12-year, $104.4 million extension, a cap hit of $8.7 million _ the same as this season. It’s bad news because Crosby, arguably the NHL’s best player when healthy, probably could have gotten a shorter deal….and more money per...

VIDEO: Wings fans look to recruit Parise and Suter by way of creative guilt

With the likes of Lidstrom and Stuart gone, the Wings are entering a very exciting yet potentially stressful free agent period that begins this weekend on July 1st. This offseason the obvious prizes for not only the Wings but a small handful of other teams are Nashville blue liner Ryan Suter and New Jersey forward Zach Parise. During the free agent process though many fans might...

Wild submit offers to Parise, Suter

The Minnesota Wild say they have submitted offers to free-agent stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter and signed Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell. The Wild tweeted the news on Sunday, when the free-agent market opened. General manager Chuck Fletcher and owner Craig Leipold have promised that the Wild planned to be aggressive this summer to try to get the team back to the playoffs after...

No Justin Schultz for the Red Wings

Crap. According to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, the Wings will have to go all out for Ryan Suter, Jay Garrison and, if he makes it to the market, Matt Carle, especially now that the Flames have locked up Dennis Wideman, because… Red Wings officially out of of the D Justin Schultz sweepstakes

Why Nashville Can Live Without Suter

As the minutes tick by and the days count down until free agency begins Sunday morning, the city of Nashville is starting to feel like they are living their daily lives in a sauna, and not just because the temperature is beginning to spill over into triple digits. Ryan Suter has the entire organization at a standstill, waiting to figure out if he will return to the only team he...

Other free agent defensemen of interest

We’ve already covered some of the more intriguing players that will be available via free agency, but it doesn’t appear likely that the big-ticket guys like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will end up in New York.  The 2012 free agent class is extremely thin, but at the draft last weekend GM Glen Sather confidently stated the team would still be “fairly aggressive” in free agency...

Will the Wings offer Schultz a contract?

Justin Schultz's agent from Meehan and Arnott of Newport Sports is going to be a busy man this upcoming weekend – the same agent represents Zach Parise as well. Redwings Front–Defenseman Justin Schultz hasn’t played a game in the National Hockey League, but that’s not stopping the Wings from all but guaranteeing the soon-to-be free agent a spot on their roster....

Justin Schultz sweepstakes begin

The June 25th deadline has come and gone and as expected, Anaheim was unable to sign defenseman Justin Schultz to an Entry Level contract, meaning he’ll be a free agent on July 1st. Schultz, 21, may actually be the most hotly pursued of all the free agents this summer because unlike Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Schultz will be relatively affordable. Schultz is in line to make a...

WCHA well represented in NHL free agency

s/t to Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald... According to the Globe and Mail four out of the top 10 free agents are former players from the WCHA. That's pretty impressive in my opinion. Also, former Fighting Sioux forward and current New Jersey Devil Zach Parise will probably land in the top three as well.

Dennis Wideman cashes in, other D-men applaud

The Calgary Flames acquired the free agent negotiating rights to defenseman Dennis Wideman and gave him a five-year deal worth $26.5 million. Cha-ching! We all knew that pending free agents Ryan Suter and Matt Carle would cash in this summer, but this generous deal reaffirmed the high market for proven defensemen. The signing served also fair warning to NHL general managers to lock...

Buzz On Broad Radio 6/27/12 "Who Can The Phillies Trade For? And for the Flyers? Luke Schenn, Matt Carle, Zach Parise, and Ryan Suter"

In case you missed tonight's episode, you can listen to the full-length podcast below. Check it out and let us know what you think! #PhilliesTalk #FlyersTalk #BoBRadio Listen to internet radio with Buzz On Broad on Blog Talk Radio

At The Top Of The List

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, Teams in need of high end scoring talent are going to be in tough this year in free agency. There’s not one high end centre available and the top wingers like Zach Parise, Alex Semin and Jaromir Jagr could be paid a fortune if Dennis Wideman’s contract on Wednesday is any indication. There are only 13 forwards who had more than 36 points...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.