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Abrupt ending: Wild GM decides to buy out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Minnesota Wild
Jan 20, 2018; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) celebrates his goal with defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Guerin isn’t messing around.

The Wild general manager made that clear again on Tuesday morning when the team bought out the remaining four years on the contracts of veteran winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

“(It was) a very difficult decision over lots of time and lots of meetings and lots of things went into this decision,” Guerin said Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at Wild headquarters in St. Paul. “But it’s a big decision that I feel we needed to make in order to keep moving forward. We wish Zach and Ryan nothing but the best in their future. We know that they are going to find teams to play for and have big impacts wherever they land.”

Parise and Suter depart the Wild just as they arrived. A package deal. Former Wild GM Chuck Fletcher signed the pair to 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012. The Wild’s decision to buy out Parise isn’t a surprise given the fact he was a healthy scratch late in the regular season and in the first three games of the Wild’s playoff series against Vegas. Parise will turn 37 on July 28.

The decision on the 36-year-old Suter was surprising given the fact he’s still a productive defenseman. Suter told KSTP-TV sports director Joe Schmit that he was shocked by the decision and that Wild owner Craig Leipold also was on the call to Suter to help deliver the news.

The moves will cause long-term salary-cap issues for the Wild but provide immediate relief. The Wild now have $26.265 million in cap room for 2021-22 after gaining over $10 million in cap space from this move. The issue is the buyouts will extend the dead money on the Wild’s cap through 2029.

The Wild also will gain an immediate benefit when it comes to the upcoming expansion draft. The Wild were going to have to protect Parise and Suter because both had no-move clauses. This will enable them to protect two other players for the July 21 draft in which Seattle will be able to pick players for its roster.

The Wild will pay Parise and Suter $6.7 million over the next eight years, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic, and be charged with $2.371 million, $6.371 million and $7.371 million cap hits in the next four years, respectively, for each. There will be an $833,333 cap hits the four years after that for each player.