The two biggest NHL free agents both sign with...

809888.jpg

The two biggest NHL free agents both sign with...

From Comcast SportsNet
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. "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 the cream of what was a thin free agent crop, and each had spent the past 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. Maybe THE greatest. 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 then 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.'" And 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." With one fell swoop, the Wild have been transformed from a relatively young franchise with very little history of success since being re-established in Minnesota, to an immediate contender. The Wild got off to a tremendous start to last season before injuries and inexperience caught up to them in the second half. Minnesota endured a dreadful 11-28-7 stretch and finished 12th in the Western Conference. "We felt if we could add either a top defenseman or a top forward it would really help our team," Fletcher said. "I don't think you ever go in assuming you're going to land both of them. We shot for the moon, and we tried our best." For a team that has struggled to put the puck in the net, this was one monster score. "These signings will resonate well with our fans, with our players and with everybody associated with the team," said Fletcher, who added that they still have cap flexibility. "Our goal in signing them was certainly not to make a splash, it was to make our team better. We feel we are a better team, but our work is just starting." Parise was the best forward on the market. He scored 31 goals and 69 points last season in his first year as the Devils' captain. He also chipped in with 15 points in helping the team's surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals, which ended in a six-game series loss to Los Angeles. Drafted 17th overall by New Jersey in 2003, the 27-year old has 194 goals and 216 assists in 503 career games. He scored 30-plus goals five times. Suter, also 27, was the top defenseman available this summer. He spent all seven of his seasons in the NHL with the Predators after being selected with the seventh pick in the 2005 draft. The All-Star defenseman had career highs in points last year, with 7 goals and 39 assists. Parise tried to explain why he needed more than a few days to announce his intentions, saying he was evaluating each team and city that was trying to sign him. While the Wild celebrated, the players' former teams were left with big holes to fill. "There's no question we're disappointed," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "It's a very unfortunate thing when you have a player of his stature that comes right through the ranks and, at this given time a decision is made to go elsewhere. But right now there's nothing we can do about that and our plans are going forward." Lamoriello said he met with Parise and his representatives in Toronto on Saturday, and made what he called a competitive offer. In later discussions with Parise, Lamoriello said, the player made clear he wanted an opportunity to play in his home state. "Zach told me that if it wasn't going home to Minnesota, it would be coming to New Jersey," Lamoriello said. "I respect that." The Devils cupboard isn't entirely bare as the team still features Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias and NHL rookie of the year finalist Adam Henrique. New Jersey also re-signed veteran goalie Martin Brodeur to a two-year contract earlier this week. The Predators had a similar reaction to Suter's departure. "It would be an understatement to say that the Nashville Predators are disappointed at this time," team GM David Poile said. "Actually, not disappointed, but very surprised." Poile had held out hope that Suter would consider re-signing with the Predators even after becoming a free agent. Now the Predators need to turn their attention to re-signing their other star defenseman, captain Shea Weber, who is a restricted free agent. Second-tier free agents such as defenseman Matt Carle and forward Alexander Semin seemed to be waiting for Suter and Praise to reach agreements so that they could offer their talents to teams that didn't get a top target. 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.

Quick Links

With addition of Cullen Jenkins, whose job is on the line?

With addition of Cullen Jenkins, whose job is on the line?

The Redskins have signed some veteran help for their defensive line. The inevitable ripple effects of bringing in Cullen Jenkins will take several days to play out.

At 6-3 and around 300 pounds, Jenkins is not the run stuffer that many have been expecting the team to sign all year. He is more of a pass rusher at this point, with 47.5 sacks in his 12 NFL seasons, including three with the Giants last year.

The addition of Jenkins likely puts one of the players who was going to make the 53-man roster in jeopardy of getting cut. They will keep six or seven defensive lineman. Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Kendall Reyes, and Ricky Jean Francois are locks. Ziggy Hood has performed well enough to earn a spot and Matt Ioannidis is likely to make it because the team invested a fifth-round draft pick in him. That makes six.

The candidates for the seventh spot are Jenkins, Stephen Paea, and rookie Anthony Lanier II. If they were happy with Paea the probably would not have signed Jenkins. It looks like Paea, who has been a disappointing free agent signing, could well be on the outside looking in.

In the big picture, the addition of Jenkins puts the Redskins up to 79 players on the roster. They have to be down to the limit of 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. The final cut to 53 is due at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Quick Links

Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman could make NFL debut in preseason finale

Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman could make NFL debut in preseason finale

OWINGS MILLS – Wide receiver Breshad Perriman could finally see his first game action with the Ravens on Thursday, during the preseason finale in New Orleans.

“If the doctors clear him, he’ll be out there,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said following Monday’s practice. “If he can play, he will play. I do want to see him playing before he gets in a regular season game. That’s something we would want to see him do if he can. But that will be up to the docs.”

Perriman has not played for the Ravens since he was a first-round pick in 2015, due to two separate knee injuries. However, Perriman was activated off the PUP list Aug. 23 and has been practicing since.

If Perriman played Thursday without any physical setbacks, it would increase the likelihood that he would dress for the regular-season opener against the Bills on Sept. 11.

Even if Perriman’s snaps were limited, he could be utilized in some packages as a downfield threat. The presence of Perriman could also open up opportunities for other receivers to work underneath.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens put two players on IR, release nine others

Quick Links

Orioles will join other MLB teams at Tim Tebow workout

Orioles will join other MLB teams at Tim Tebow workout

Adam Jones laughed at the news. Buck Showalter wasn’t impressed, either. Three weeks after news surfaced that Heisman winning quarterback Tim Tebow was going to hold a tryout for interested major league teams, the Orioles have decided to attend the Tuesday workout. 

The news was first reported by BaltimoreBaseball.com and confirmed by an industry source.

Originally, the Orioles hadn’t planned on sending a representative to Tebow’s workout, but about half the major league teams are sending one, and they will, too.  

Tebow, who is now 29, hasn’t planned baseball since he was a high school junior in 2004. 

When Showalter was asked about Tebow earlier this month, he talked about how hard Orioles minor leaguers worked to get an opportunity at the major leagues. 

“I think of what these guys do in our Dominican Academy, Delmarva, Aberdeen, the Gulf Coast League, Frederick and Bowie and Norfolk. I take very seriously the stuff they have to do to get the opportunities to do what they’re doing,” Showalter said.

“Somebody will sell some tickets in the spring. I have to be careful. We may sign him. I bet he was a good player in high school. I was too, and I played quarterback.”

MORE ORIOLES: Davis, Machado, Trumbo have all hit 30