The Minnesota Wild were a starless team in need of a big-time jolt to get the franchise back to the point of being worthy of playing in "the State of Hockey."
The jolts don't come any bigger than this.
The Wild landed not one but both of the NHL's top prizes in free agency, signing forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter on Wednesday. Each deal is for 13 years and $98 million, according to three people familiar with the contracts who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not release details.
The Detroit Red Wings were among the teams to take a run at both players, and were most interested in Suter as a player who could fill in after captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired.
"We feel good about our offer to Suter and Parise on July 1, and with our chance to adjust our offer to Suter on July 2," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said by phone.
Holland said team owner Mike Ilitch and coach Mike Babcock joined him in making a presentation to Suter. He said they didn't have an opportunity to make a similar presentation to Parise.
"WE GOT 'EM!" the Wild announced on their Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon, sending shockwaves across the league and through a devoted fan base that was starting to show signs of apathy after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Parise, the former New Jersey Devils playmaker, and Suter, who paired with Shea Weber on the Nashville blue line, were regarded as the cream of what was a thin free agent crop, and each had spent the last four days poring over numerous offers from several teams before making a decision.
"This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild," GM Chuck Fletcher said in a conference call.
The Wild have had a relatively non-descript existence aside from one stirring run to the Western Conference finals in their second season.
Parise knows the history well, having grown up in the Twin Cities. So he recruited his friend Suter to come help out the hometown team.
"We kept in touch throughout this whole thing and we decided that we thought for both of us that the best fit would be Minnesota," Parise said in a conference call. "We're excited that it worked out and we get a chance to play with each other."
One person said that even the breakdown of the contracts is exactly the same, with both players getting $12 million in each of the first two years.
The deals go down in value, with each player making $1 million in both 2023-24 and 2024-25.
"My parents were so excited when they knew that I was considering coming back home," Parise said.
"When I made the decision they were real excited as well. That played a big part. I grew up here, I love coming back here in the summers and I thought 'We enjoy it here so much it would be great to be here year round.' "
It's a relative homecoming for Suter, who is from Wisconsin, as well.
"It came down to where I felt my family would like to live," Suter said. "My wife's from Bloomington, Minnesota. That had a lot to do with it.
"Minnesota has a lot of good young players that I think will help make this team successful."