Originally written May 28, 2012 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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A day does not pass when the names of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are not part of my conversation. Thats because Red Wing fans are extremely antsy this offseason. After three consecutive years of playoff disappointments, Detroit enthusiasts expect the Wings brain trust to lay hands upon their roster and restore the club to its rightful place -- Stanley Cup champion. And with two superstar players in Parise and Suter available as unrestricted free agents on July 1, the perfect scenario would be to have both of them under contract by 12:01 a.m. on the first of July. Adding a proven goal scorer such as Parise and an all-around defenseman such as Suter, youd be hard pressed not to pencil in the Wings as the overwhelming favorite to raise the Cup in 2013. Theres one major flaw to that line of thinking. With New Jersey in the Stanley Cup Finals, its difficult to see Parise, the Devils captain, leaving the Jersey Shore unless the clubs financial situation is so dire that money becomes a hurdle -- or that he really, really, really wants out of the Garden State. Despite reports that Parise and Suter are a package deal, the Devils playoff success clouds the picture of them ever becoming NHL teammates. Although the Wings hope theyre a pair because they have the resources to sign them both, Detroits hierarchy is well aware that they might not get either of them when free agency begins. Ever since the Red Wings were bounced from the playoffs, theyve made it clear that changes are going to be made. To what extent depends on Parise and Suter. The Wings have also debated this question: If they had to choose between Parise and Suter, which one would they sign? Its apparent that as much as they want Parise, the Wings covet Suter. A defenseman of Suters caliber on the open market at 27 years old is unprecedented. A leader on and off the ice, every facet of his game is excellent. He does it all. If the Wings can lure Suter to the Motor City, they have their No. 1 defenseman locked up for the next eight to 10 years. Thats why Suter is Detroits top free-agent target this summer. Detroit GM Ken Holland has had July 1, 2012, circled on his calendar for the past couple of years because he knows that his teams foundation will be rocked when Nick Lidstrom retires. Suter is not Lidstrom, but Suter instantly stabilizes Detroits defense, which is the best the Wings will be able to do once Nick calls it a career.
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