Found July 13, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
ST. PAUL, Minn. Charlie Coyle was glued to Twitter to track the latest in the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter free-agent sweepstakes. Marco Scandella found out the news by watching TSN, the big sports station in Canada, where Scandella is from. For four days at the beginning of July, the Parise and Suter rumors were tracked by everyone in the game and the fans who follow it. Coyle and Scandella's situations were a bit different. The two up-and-coming Minnesota Wild prospects had a keen eye on the proceedings and were as thrilled as any fan when Minnesota landed both Parise and Suter, the two biggest free-agent signings in team history. "It was unbelievable when I found out," Coyle said. "It was so exciting, I think for everyone. It's just great for the whole organization. No one knew if we there was any chance to get both, and all of a sudden they get both. It's awesome for everyone. I think the organization is headed in the right direction, and I think everybody's happy about that." Excitement for the Wild, among fans and players, might be at its highest point since the team advanced to the Western Conference finals in 2003. Parise and Suter replica jerseys are flying off the racks at the Minnesota team stores. The Wild have sold more than 2,000 new season tickets. But the anticipation isn't reserved solely for Parise and Suter. A heralded group of prospects adds to the intrigue, along with a solid base already in place led by captain Mikko Koivu. Those prospects, knowing the potential in the future for the organization, are as excited as anyone. "You can see with a lot of powerhouses around the league, Detroit, Pittsburgh, they've got their core guys," forward prospect Brett Bulmer said. "They're trying to build a great core here and adding those two to what they already have is going to be huge. For us young players, that's really exciting to know they want to win around here, and we just want to be a part of it." Bulmer and the others look around the locker rooms at the Xcel Energy Center this week and see the future. In town for the annual development camp, Bulmer is joined by the likes of other top prospects such as Coyle, Scandella, Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Zack Phillips, Jason Zucker, Jonas Brodin, Mathew Dumba, Matt Hackett and others. Those players see the potential in their teammates and are eager to embrace a future they hope includes them. "It's really exciting with the guys like Brett Bulmer and Granlund and Phillips, and Marco sitting beside me," said Dumba, Minnesota's first-round pick last month. "It's pretty cool seeing the caliber of talent that's in this dressing room and that I will be up against in the future." Starting in 2010, when the Wild drafted Granlund in the first round and added Bulmer, Larsson and Zucker in the second round, the young talent has infused its own excitement. There are quality forwards, defensemen and goaltenders ready to make their mark on Minnesota's NHL roster, even if the wait became longer because of Parise and Suter. "It's huge," Bulmer said of the team's advanced prospects. "Even in my draft year, there's like four of us that are pretty elite players in the first couple of rounds and adding Coyle and Dumba now, Brodin, Phillips, those guys. It's really exciting. We've got a great group of prospects on top of the already guys that are older than us and the core they have here, so all of us young guys want to be a part of that." The Wild have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, and haven't been past the first round since the 2003 run to the conference finals. All of the struggles seem in the distant past because of the activity this summer, which included Granlund, ranked as the No. 2 prospect in all of hockey by The Hockey News, signing his first NHL contract. Those Minnesota fans who have been buying up jerseys and season tickets also are aware of the talent waiting in the wings for the Wild. How else could it be explained that 6,500 fans came to the Xcel Energy Center during a summer weeknight to see the prospects compete in a scrimmage open to the public as part of the development camp. The crowd more than doubled last year's total for a scrimmage. There were no appearances by Parise and Suter, but enough fans packed the Gate 1 Lobby at the arena that the staff had to open the doors 50 minutes before the scheduled scrimmage, 20 minutes earlier than planned. Sections that were roped off had to be opened to accommodate the crowd. "I think they were here before I was. There were fans in the lobby," said Zucker, who scored the first goal in the scrimmage on a breakaway pass from Granlund, later adding: "It's easy to play with these guys. You can see the talent come out in a game situation like that." Seeing their fellow prospects on the ice adds to the players' enthusiasm. With Parise and Suter locked up for 13 years, Koivu signed for another six seasons and a group of prospects unrivaled in the NHL, the excitement for the Wild could be just beginning. "We want to build something here," Scandella said. "We're not just going to be good for a couple of years. We're trying to build a base. And I think with the prospects we have and with the signings and the players that we have on our team, we've got some really key players, some guys that know their roles, work hard and we're just trying to change the atmosphere here." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Devils brace for post-Parise era

The New Jersey Devils began life after captain Zach Parise wondering how they replace the leadership, grittiness and production of the guy who had been the heart and soul of their team. Parise, 27, signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild. Two seasons ago, Parise played only 13 games because of a knee injury, and, after he had scored 146 goals over the previous...

Bruins made a play for Parise

The Boston Bruins' offseason of ho-hum continued with the club signing some extra pieces and apparently ready to hit the 2012-13 season with basically the same roster as the one that left the 2012 playoffs in the first round. Oh, and word got out that Boston made an offer to free agent Zach Parise before he signed his 13-year contract to leave the New Jersey Devils and join...

Free agent signees hope to revitalize Wild

The Minnesota Wild joined the big boys in the NHL. On July 4, going head-to-head against powerhouse teams like the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks, the Wild landed the two biggest free agents in the NHL when it signed New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. "They drove this bus...

Wild have gained attention throughout NHL

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. One week after the Minnesota Wild landed the NHL's two biggest free agents, their jerseys could be found all over at the Second Annual NHL Charity Game at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena on Wednesday.Already, Wild fans had purchased the jerseys and T-shirts of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter and were wearing them proudly as they stood in line for...

Blues still in market for a defenseman

The Blues entered the NHL's free agency period searching for a top-four defenseman. They are still searching. They were priced out of the Ryan Suter sweepstakes and quickly turned their attention to Plan B: Matt Carle. But although St. Louis was heavily involved in talks with the former Philadelphia Flyer, Carle signed a six-year, 33 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning...

Chicago Blackhawks’ Inactivity in the Free Agency Has Caused Some Fans to Lose Grip on Reality

The Chicago Blackhawks’ free agency period has included a lot of talk but no real action so far. In fact, the little action the ‘Hawks have taken has been so subtle I almost didn’t even notice. I have a sense, though, that my somewhat negative feelings over the ‘Hawks’ free agency inactivity is, at times, because I’ve been sucked into the rumor nonsense that almost always...

NHL Offseason: Do the New Jersey Devils Have a “Plan B”?

By: Mike Luciano (@MikeLuci) After the dust settled in the wake of 2012 free agent frenzy and the outcome of the Zach Parise sweepstakes, it reflected the continuation of a turbulent offseason for Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils. It’s been a field day for the members of the hockey world possessing any form of dislike for the Devils as they’ve lost both of their assistant...

Wildly amusing: Dater ‘illustrates’ lack of sympathy for owners in CBA negotiations

Strange times, folks, these are strange times. The Hockey News’s Adam Proteau tried very hard to explain to fans that the NHLPA’s members have every right to battle for their slice of the revenue pie, but in adding too many “they’re like movie stars and we don’t get angry at them for being paid what they pay” references, his article came off sounding too similar to the...

John Jaeckel: Nicky, We Hardly Knew Ye

Follow me @jaeckel I was taken a little by surprise that the Blackhawks might trade Nick Leddy—for the right return—when a source told me it was a possibility in the wake of Johnny Oduya's contract extension a number of weeks back. Then, scuttlebutt creeped out that the Hawks were "infuriated" that Leddy's agent, Neil Sheehy—who is also Ryan...

Signing Carle strengthens Lightning's defense

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off their summer shopping by landing one of the big names in the free agent market -- defenseman Matt Carle. Hours after Ryan Suter -- the top defenseman available in free agency -- signed a deal to go to the Minnesota Wild, the Lightning quickly zeroed in on Carle, signing the 27-year-old to a six-year contract worth $33 million. Combined with...

Canucks in hot pursuit of Shane Doan… at least they should be

With Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed, the attention of the hockey world is on Shane Doan. Doan, 35, is still unsigned but apparently wants to stay in Phoenix. He also wants a multi-year deal. The big question is, if he signs a multi-year deal with the Coyotes, will they still be in Phoenix after next season? With all of the uncertainty of the Coyotes’ future in Phoenix, it...

NHL Free Agency Leftovers: Alexander Semin

                By: Joe Veroni  NHL Free Agency has been underway for nearly two weeks and Alexander Semin is still available. He’s the biggest fish left in a very small pond of Unrestricted Free Agents. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were the consensus top FA prizes on July 1, but Semin is no slouch. Just compare Parise’s career stats to Semin’s and it might be surprising...

A Winger for Sid

The Pittsburgh Penguins missed out on the Zach Parise sweepstakes and, after waiting four days for him to make a decision, missed out on other wingers such as PA Parenteau and Ray Whitney.  After ten days of free agency, the Penguins' best remaining options are Alexander Semin; a player with immense talent and equal baggage, or Shane Doan who is approaching retirement. That...
Wild News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

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.