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Open window: Wild’s Leipold can ‘see a Stanley Cup’

Mar 14, 2013, 12:37 AM EDT

Minnesota Wild Introduce Zach Parise and Ryan Suter - Press Conference Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2008.

Yet after signing forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter to identical 13-year $98 million contracts during the summer free agency period, and now challenging the Vancouver Canucks for the Northwest Division lead, there appears to be a growing confidence in the Wild organization.

“I see a Stanley Cup championship. My hope is that it happens soon,” Wild owner Craig Leipold told the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, according to

“It may not be this year. It may not be next year. But the beautiful thing is we have a window now that’s not going to close in two or three years. We’ve got a window that’s going to be opened up for five, six or seven years.”

The Wild are coming to an interesting juncture in their schedule.

They have a home-and-home with the Colorado Avalanche, going Thursday and Saturday.

They also play the Canucks in what could be a pivotal Northwest showdown next Monday.


  1. hubeydubeydoo11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    So what you signed Parise and Suter….You can win it all on their shoulders. Backstrom isn’t that reliable and the D isn’t that good (besides Suter) I’m not saying that Parise and Suter aren’t bad I’m just saying that they wont win the Stanley cup

    • woodstakes - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:23 AM

      Not going to agrue with any of your points, although I would like to point out Brodin for defensemen. Watch some of this kid and remember he is 19 playing top pairing with Suter. The kid plays like he’s 25!! Over the next couple of years when he puts on 15-25lbs you could be hearing a lot more about this guy.

      But, overall your right. The defense is definitely suspect and Backstrom is more than likely gone after this year anyway!

  2. 19to77 - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    I can see it too, Craig. Doesn’t mean my name’s getting engraved in it anytime soon. Your team’s still too lacking in firepower and defensive depth to go anywhere in the playoffs.

    • hubeydubeydoo11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:01 AM

      I think Parise and Suter shouldn’t have based their entire careers in an organization that isn’t always the toughest in the division. It starts with them but shoot they are taking up a whole lot of cap space.

      • woodstakes - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:18 AM

        Idk about that… $7.5M cap hit ($15M for both) isn’t THAT bad. It would be better under $7M, but over the next 5 years MUCH of their roster is going to be entry level contracts and second contracts. Pretty easy to keep those cap number by Suter/Parise and pay what they have coming up.

        There are PLENTY of teams that have MUCH MUCH more wrapped up in 2 players! Now, i’m NOT saying that paying Crosby/Malkin is akin to what paying Suter/Parise is, but in example its much harder for the Pens to pay them both, plus pay Letang & Kunitz in 2 years when they are UFA’s. That $15M cap hit the Wild are paying doesn’t look so bad then!

        Bottom line its going to be tough for teams if the cap doesn’t go up for teams to keep more than 2 or 3 real stars on their teams when RFA comes or especially when UFA come a knocking!

      • hubeydubeydoo11 - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:37 AM

        They arent the worse off as far as their cap space will go with stars but I just dont see the talent behind them. The tending is flip flop and some nights stellar and other nights youre hitting your head on the wall. I think they will need to make a few more changes but they need to make playoffs this year or they will look silly with those two big names and such high hopes for this season for god knows what reason. Some experts think they will win it all and take lord Stanley this year and i just dont see it unless Chicago, montreal, the ducks, B’s, nucks, and rangers tank it. IF they all play poorly in the playoffs then The Wild have a real chance…looking at the talent they got now im not seeing a Stanley cup team…not for at least as you said 3-5 years if they make good and smart deals in the future.

  3. woodstakes - Mar 14, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Yeah, as Wild fan it is nice to at the VERY least to be able to compete!! As for a Stanley Cup… hold on just a minute!! Maybe, if Zucker, Coyle, Granlund ALL adapt and learn to score efficiently at a much higher level.

    If Brodin continues to mature and Mathew Dumba, Tyler Cuma can catch up quickly you could see a cup run in a couple of years. Otherwise, if we are being even remotely realistic 3-5 years out looks good. But how often do you get that many prospects to do what you think they will do when you draft them??

    Offensively they look.. Ok. That’s all Ok. As they gel they are getting better, but they still can’t score like the real contenders. Get to a 3+ gpg avg and have a better defensive pairing than Suter/Brodin & Spurgeon/whoever we put with him on a given night. When our defensive pairings are Suter/Brodin, Dumba/Spurgeon, Cuma/Gilbert (assuming those prospects are anywhere near what they hope they will be) then a Cup run is definitely right outside that “window” of which you speak! But as long as the Stoners, Faulks, Prossers, Scandella’s (I KNOW he is down now but he is the 1st one up when needed) its pretty tough to hold teams down for to long!

    But of course.. just make the playoffs and you never know!!

    • hagigun - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      Whats with people bagging on Stoner? You’d rather have Jared Spurgeon? You can’t have all elite D men with awesome skating ability, speed, shot, etc. You need some guys to play rough and tough hockey in your own zone even if they lack speed and elite skill.

      I’ll admit I get a bit frustrated watching Stoner look uncoordinated making plays, especially on offense, but the numbers don’t lie. There is a reason he keeps playing and in my opinion keeps improving. He’s a #5 or #6 but you need those guys to win cups. Think of him as a Keith Carney type.

      The last 3 years in MN Stoner is +5, +3 and now a +2 this year.

      The Wild, now this is not 100% correlated, but are this in goal differential in these same 3 seasons: -27, -49, -2 this year.

      So a guy that goes +3 when our team is -49 in goal differential last season people think is worthless? It’s not all about flash and style. It’s about grit, toughness, and not letting the other team score on you. I would always love a guy like him playing on my team as a #5,6.

  4. 950003cups - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Leipold must be chillin’ in LA. Cause that’s where the cup is that “he sees”

    Parise also saw the cup. He was on the ice in LA when some dudes wearing black and silver jerseys were carrying it.

    Wild has no shot at the cup. In fact, the NY Knicks will sweep the Miami Heat in the playoffs ling before the Minnesota Wild win a cup.

    • valeri91202 - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      Like it !

  5. 19to77 - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    If they use one of their buyouts on Heatley the Wild’s cap isn’t that bad going forward. Suter and Parise are manageable. Suter, Parise AND Heatley are not.

  6. desertfan - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    Buy out Heater and get a goalie from Nucks- all starts with a goalie a great d-man and a great centerman.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 14, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Just say no to Luongo!

    • woodstakes - Mar 14, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Seems pretty dumb to buy out a guy who is a UFA after next season, isn’t it?? If we all agree that the Wild aren’t going to be able to make a run for 3+ years… why would they buy out a guy going into his FINAL year of his contract?

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