Nearly ten years after a free agency fiasco of epic proportions, one of the very same players who rejected the Flyers back then has yet again reached the open market.
Well, two have, actually.
NEWS: #mnwild General Manager Bill Guerin today announced the club will buy out the final four years of the contracts of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) July 13, 2021
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The Minnesota Wild have bought out the contracts of both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, both 36 years old. Nearly ten years ago, in what would turn out to be a failed offseason, then Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren attempted to sign both players to massive contracts. The offers were for 12 years in excess of $80 million dollars, for a roughly $6.6 million dollar cap hit minimum, which back in the early 2010’s was very high.
Unfortunately, neither player signed with the Flyers, and both ended up with the Minnesota Wild. Instead, the Flyers lost out on another year or perhaps even more of Jaromir Jagr, as he grew tired of waiting for an offer to come through. The Flyers’ big news that summer, to that point in time, was that they re-signed Michael Leighton to become Ilya Bryzgalov’s back-up.
Now, however, both Parise and Suter will be available at what could turn out to be a reasonable price on the free agent market given their ages, and Chuck Fletcher needs to be putting in an offer, in particular for Suter.
Could Parise sign with the Flyers? Yes, especially given the Minnesota connection with Fletcher. However, the fit simply doesn’t make as much sense. Signing an aging winger (key on aging, which differentiates him from other potential moves) for likely what would be more than his value would not be a particularly smart move on the Flyers’ part.
However, with Ryan Suter, adding him to the defense core makes all too much sense. There exists the obvious Minnesota connection with Chuck Fletcher. More importantly is that while Suter has declined, he is still a very good player who doesn’t miss a ton of games. He’s only missed 10 percent of the Wild’s games over the last five seasons in fact.
He is still a reliable two-way defenseman who can put up points — 48 points in 69 games in 2019-20 — and while he isn’t a very good goal-scoring defenseman, that’s never been his role. He actually led the Wild in expected goals created (involved in), however, at 5 on 5 last season. He also ranks 24th out of 316 defensemen who played in 50 or more games last season in high danger corsi against (5 on 5). The closest Flyer on that list was ranked 30th, and it was Justin Braun (ooft).
Yet, there are some worrying statistics regarding Suter. His scoring decreased last season, and while he can suppress high danger shots somewhat effectively, he still bleeds a lot of chances regardless. He allowed the 17th most shots out of those 316 qualified defenseman at 5 on 5 last season, 509. Though, Ivan Provorov was right behind him, having allowed 500 shots.
Overall, Suter is far from perfect, but for a team that desperately needs quality defensemen, he would be a fantastic addition.
Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick