Way back in May, Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News reported that one NHL team official was expecting Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to be a package deal. They had allegedly previously discussed the possibility of playing together, and this source even believed that Suter and Parise were setting things up so they could join the same team.
Now, with July 4 here and still no decision having been made by either player, talk is once again starting to focus on Parise and Suter joining the same team. In an interview on Tuesday night, Parise admitted that he's been talking with Suter, and he also admitted that he would love to be part of a package deal with him.
Parise tells @joshrimerhockey "I'd love to play on a team w Ryan Suter. To get an opp. to play with him would be great."— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 4, 2012
That report from May indicated that if Suter and Parise were to go as a package, the Detroit Red Wings would likely be the lucky team getting both. Although the Red Wings have offered contracts to both players, it now looks like the Minnesota Wild may be the favorite to land them if this does turn out to be a package deal. The Star Tribune's Michael Russo has been strongly indicating that the Wild are in good shape with both free agents, and just from reading the tea leaves, Minnesota seems like a more likely destination for Parise than Detroit.
The good news for now is that the Red Wings do appear to still be in the mix for both players. After all, Suter hosted the Red Wings for a meeting on Tuesday. He also hosted the Wild, indicating that this could be a two-team race for his services. If Parise opts to go somewhere other than Minnesota, speculation suggests the Red Wings would be the favorite to land Suter. On the flip side, if Parise does sign with Minnesota, then Suter may end up there for that reason alone.
While it's nice to know that the Red Wings still have a shot at both players, all of this talk about the Wild ending up with both is a bit concerning. TSN's Darren Dreger tweeted on Wednesday morning that he expects the "saga" to conclude on the Fourth of July, and he thinks one or two teams "will be celebrating." In other words, this may come down to the top two free agents choosing one team like the Wild, or it may be a situation where Parise opts to sign somewhere other than Minnesota and Suter ends up choosing Detroit.
Let the fireworks begin.