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NHL Free Agency 2012

Wild set up to be contenders now and in the future

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 5:12 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The Minnesota Wild made a couple of major moves last offseason, but they didn't have the desired effect. General manager Chuck Fletcher was at it again Wednesday, landing the top two free agents in the Class of 2012.

Expect the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to have a greater impact on the present fortunes of the Wild -- and putting these two stars with a strong, young foundation already in place could make Minnesota contenders for years to come.

"We've been trying to put the best team on the ice for the last few years," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "We've obviously been trying to build aggressively through the draft in the last three years and build up a foundation of talent that we could get to a point where players could look at us and say 'they have a bright future ahead of them.' From a drafting and developing standpoint, we have been working hard at this for a while, and yet we have been trying to win. There was an opportunity this summer, with our cap space and a commitment from [owner Craig Leopold] to try to go out and be aggressive in free agency and we did that."

Wild land top forward, defenseman in Parise, Suter

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 5:12 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Dan Rosen and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers

Minnesota landed the top two players in the free agent Class of 2012, agreeing to 13-year contracts with both Parise and Suter on Wednesday morning

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter spent nearly 72 hours weighing lucrative offers from several NHL teams after the free agent market opened Sunday. For the Minnesota Wild, the payoff was worth the wait.

Minnesota landed the top two players in the free agent Class of 2012, agreeing to 13-year contracts with both Parise and Suter on Wednesday morning, making it a Fourth of July celebration for the ages in the State of Hockey and a monumental day in the history of the young franchise.

Both deals are for 13 years and $98 million, which locks each player up through the 2024-25 season. Each carries a salary-cap hit of $7.538 million per season.

Shero, Penguins look for other alternatives

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 4:41 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

John Kreiser - Columnist

It's back to the drawing board for Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero.

Shero had hoped to bring in Zach Parise to play on the left side with Sidney Crosby and Ryan Suter to anchor his defense. But neither opted for Pittsburgh -- both players signed Wednesday with the Minnesota Wild, leaving Shero to look for other alternatives.

"It took four days and we respect the process; they're both obviously really good players and they both ended up with the same team in Minnesota," Shero said during a conference call. "Zach is a really good two-way player, and we thought he'd be a really good fit here in Pittsburgh, short- and long-term. Same thing with Ryan Suter, a top defenseman -- these guys are hard to find.

Poile, Predators move on after Suter's departure

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 4:33 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

Nashville general manager David Poile has been around the NHL long enough to know when it is time to turn the page. It doesn't mean, however that the page-turning will not be accomplished without a fair amount of pain and disappointment.

Poile learned Wednesday morning that his All-Star defenseman, Ryan Suter, had exercised his rights as a free agent and joined the Minnesota Wild in a blockbuster move that also saw the top free-agent forward, Zach Parise, make exactly the same 13-year, $98-million commitment to Nashville's Western Conference rival.

Until the phone rang with a contrite Suter at the other end -- "It was the toughest phone call that I have ever had to make in my life," Suter said -- Poile believed the foundation of his defense would be returning.

"I think we met Ryan's desires and criteria on every front and, so, today is very, very disappointing," Poile said minutes after Suter announced his decision.

Devils GM Lamoriello disappointed to lose Parise

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 2:48 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has been involved in the business of hockey long enough that he says nothing surprises him anymore. Fair enough, but losing now-former captain Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday certainly disappoints him.

"He was our captain. He was our leader," Lamoriello said on a conference call not long after the Wild officially announced that both Parise and Ryan Suter signed identical 13-year contracts worth a reported $98 million. "He was a prototype Devil player the way he played. He was a great example for younger players. It's a loss, without question, besides the points he put up. That's an understatement and we'll leave it at that."

The Devils drafted Parise in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft -- and until Wednesday he had spent his entire NHL career in New Jersey, putting up 410 points in 502 games and helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final this past season. Parise said Wednesday that he loved playing in New Jersey and it is a first-class organization, but he is from Minneapolis and the chance to play at home was too great -- especially with Suter by his side.

Sullivan signs one-year deal with Coyotes

Wednesday, 07.04.2012 / 11:24 AM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Steve Sullivan has agreed to a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. The deal is reportedly worth $1.85 million plus bonuses, according to Pierre LeBrun of and TSN.

Sullivan, who turns 38 years old Friday, had 17 goals and 48 points for Pittsburgh this past season after signing a one-year deal to play with the Penguins. There had been reports the Penguins had interest in retaining Sullivan, but they were still waiting for Zach Parise to make his decision.

"We had to move on at some point. Can't wait forever," Stephen Bartlett, Sullivan's agent, told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Sullivan has 283 goals and 730 points in 969 career NHL games. He'll help replace Ray Whitney, who left Phoenix for Dallas earlier this week.

Jaromir Jagr signs with Dallas

Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 8:30 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

John Kreiser - Columnist

After a busy three days of revamping the Dallas Stars, GM Joe Nieuwendyk is ready for some time off.

"I think I'm going to the lake next week and turn my phone off. I'm pretty much done," Nieuwendyk said with a laugh Tuesday after signing 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr to a one-year, $4.5 million contract -- his third major move in as many days to remodel a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2008.

Nieuwendyk signed another 40-year-old, All-Star left wing Ray Whitney, to a two-year, $9 million deal on Sunday, then landed speedy center Derek Roy from Buffalo on Monday in a deal that sent forward Steve Ott and defenseman Adam Pardy to the Sabres. Roy is expected to fill the hole left when Nieuwendyk dealt center Mike Ribeiro to Washington on June 22.

But those moves were just a warm-up for the stunning addition of Jagr, the eighth-highest scorer in NHL history, who returned to the League this past season after three years in Russia to play for the Philadelphia Flyers and put up 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games.

It's quite a transformation for a team that has gone four years without a sniff of postseason play.

Impressed by roster, Jokinen chose Jets

Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 12:32 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Olli Jokinen
Center - WPG
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 38 | PTS: 61
SOG: 223 | +/-: -12

Olli Jokinen said he had three offers on the table, but it took one look at the Winnipeg Jets' roster to convince him where to sign.

Jokinen and the Jets agreed late Monday night to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but TSN reported the average annual value is $4.5 million.

"It came down to, I looked at the Winnipeg lineup, and they're an up-and-coming team," Jokinen said on a conference call from his home in Finland. "I thought it would be a good fit for me. I can help the team take that next step. But the biggest thing is when you look at the lineup and you look at the guys on the team … I want to be a part of that."

Devils re-sign Salvador for three years

Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 11:58 AM / NHL Free Agency 2012

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has re-signed his highest-scoring defenseman from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- Bryce Salvador.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Salvador agreed to a three-year, $9.5 million deal to remain in the Garden State. The 36-year-old defenseman will earn $3.16 million in each of the next three seasons.

After sitting out an entire 82-game season in 2010-11 with an inner-ear concussion, Salvador was just one of just two defensemen in the Devils' lineup to play in all 82 regular-season game this past season. He played a major role in New Jersey's run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Avs re-sign Johnson to four-year deal

Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 11:37 AM / NHL Free Agency 2012

The Colorado Avalanche re-signed restricted free-agent Erik Johnson to a four-year contract Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but NHL Network's E.J. Hradek reported the deal would pay Johnson $15 million for an average annual value of $3.75 million.

The 24-year-old defenseman was the first pick in the 2006 Draft by the St. Louis Blues, who dealt him to the Avalanche in February 2011. Johnson had 4 goals and 22 assists in 73 games for the Avalanche last season.

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