The Minnesota Wild made considerable waves around the NHL on Tuesday when they bought out the final four years of the contracts of veteran forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.
It saves the Wild over $10 million next year but dead money on the cap will extend through 2029. The decision also provides a cap hit of $15 million against the Wild in each of the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons just for the two veterans not to play with them.
Parise and Suter now hit the open market still with some appeal to their name despite an expected dip in production as the two enter the final stages of their careers at 36 years old — and it won’t provide much of a shock to see the New York Islanders as potential suitors for either player.
Suter was still plenty serviceable on Minnesota’s blue line, posting 19 points with a plus-9 rating while playing in all 56 games this season.
If he were to be had on a team-friendly contract, he would make a logical option for the Islanders as they look to further tweak their blue line.
The Athletic’s Arthur Staple reported that the Islanders are shopping Nick Leddy on the trade market to not only get his $5.5 million contract off the books but to ensure he is not an unprotected player for the Seattle Kraken to snap up at the Expansion Draft next week.
That could potentially allow the Islanders to shed another big contract — like veteran forward Jordan Eberle’s $5.5 million deal — off the books or at least guarantee that they will not lose Leddy for nothing.
Either way, Suter could slot into the void left by Leddy’s departure rather than relying on a younger, unproven defenseman in the system to maintain a resolute Islanders blue line.
As for Parise, it is almost expected that the Islanders will at least inquire about the left winger. In fact, a source speculating with amNewYork Metro on Wednesday morning said they would be “shocked” if the Islanders simply let Parise pass by.
There was a bevy of rumors at the 2020 trade deadline that the Islanders were inches away from acquiring Parise, but the deal fell through at the buzzer.
He has links to the organization — his father, J.P., played with the Islanders for parts of four seasons — and would provide a bit more stability down the left-wing depth chart compared to Leo Komarov; even if he is coming off a career-worst 7-goal, 11-assist season last year in 45 games.
Hypothetically speaking, though, a bump in production would be expected if he were to join a line of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom rather than Minnesota’s fourth line of Nico Sturm and Nick Bonino.
Another team-friendly deal would give the Islanders the flexibility to retain free-agent right-winger Kyle Palmieri, should Eberle be playing elsewhere next season, and put him on the first line:
Hypothetical Islanders Line Combinations: 2021-22
- Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Kyle Palmieri
- Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Josh Bailey
- Zach Parise – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Oliver Wahlstrom
- Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
- Adam Pelech – Ryan Pulock
- Ryan Suter – Scott Mayfield
- Andy Greene – Noah Dobson