The Minnesota Wild are on a free-agent frenzy and who could blame them? The Wild celebrated the 4th of July in style with the explosive signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13-year, $98 million dollar deals.
Zach Parise is making a return home after spending seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils. The left winger admits that he truly wanted to play with defenseman Ryan Suter and the move seemed like a no-brainer to join him back home in Minnesota.
Zach Parise joined KFAN Sports Radio in Minneapolis with Dan Barreiro to discuss returning home to play with the Minnesota Wild, the young core of the new-look Wild, Ryan Suter selling him on playing in Minnesota, other teams that he and Ryan Suter considered signing with and the expectations this season for the Wild.
You can return home again. That’s the story here although you never played professional hockey here, but lived here?
“As I was saying yesterday the chance to come home and have the opportunity to play was really appealing to me. I hope some of the fans can forgive me for not playing for the [Minnesota] Gophers a few years ago. Both Ryan Suter and I were really excited to be able to come here and play. We think it’s going to be awesome.”
How did you come to your conclusion to come back home?
“It’s a different stage of my life 10 years later [from electing to not go to the University of Minnesota]. At that time I felt and I still believe that that was the best choice for me. I wouldn’t take that back at all, but now at this time I felt like just the chance to…you didn’t know if this opportunity would be able to come back again. I really like the young players the team has got and the makeup of the team. I think it’s going to be great. It’s going to work out really well.”
Who was the facilitator on this move? Yourself or Ryan Suter? Who took the lead?
“I would say we talked about it. I would say you gotta give the credit to Ryan Suter there just because like I said earlier he knew more about the team. He knew more about the organization than I did just from playing against them often. He brought it up to me. The more we talked about it, the more I learned about it, the more I liked it. I would think you would have to give him the credit for that. He’s the one that brought up the idea and I thought it was a great idea.”
Is there any other team that you and Ryan Suter considered going to together?
“There was a couple, but as I have said all along you can ask other teams that. I never been one to speak of what else is out there and who else we were talking to. If you wanna find that out you can ask the other teams. It’s a tough decision because we wanted to play together and in the cap system that’s not always realistic, so we found places where we had the ability and then if you really want to go through with it you go from there.”
What is fair in terms of expectations for this team? Are you ready for the pressure that comes with playing in Minnesota?
“We understand where that comes from. For me getting the opportunity to play with Ryan, a world class top defenseman was great. I understand where I don’t want anyone getting ahead of themselves. There’s 30 teams that are going to be getting ready in September and October trying to get to the same thing. We liked what this team looked like for a long time. I’ve been on teams in New Jersey where we were picked to win the Stanley Cup several times. We were picked to win the Cup before the season started and we didn’t even make the playoffs. It’s not fair to put expectations on everything. You’ve seen it before and I guess it is kind of a cliche, but it’s not always the most skilled guys that win the championship. You want to be part of a great team for a long time.”