Canucks vs. Wild Game Day Preview: Wild Things
When the Minnesota Wild signed BFFs Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to similar 13-year, $98 million contracts this off-season, some wondered whether or not owner Craig Leopold had finally lost his mind. Don’t get me wrong. Not that these outrageously big contracts weren’t deserved – Parise is a consistent 30-goal scorer and recorded a career-high 94 points in 2008-2009, and Ryan Suter is one of the top defensemen in the league with an average of over 30 points a season over the last 5 seasons – but Minnesota is still a relatively-small market team and Leopold cried poor not long after the deals. Committing $196 million to 2 players is no small thing.
Fast forward to today and it seems like the Parise and Suter signings have paid off for the Wild. For starters, business is as ‘good as it’s ever been’ in Minnesota. On the ice, the Wild are now leading the Northwest Division, wrestling top spot again from the Canucks this weekend. And leading the Wild? Parise and Suter, of course.
Parise has found some good chemistry with captain Mikko Koivu and both have 22 points each (Parise has 11 goals). After a bit of a slow start, Suter has hit his stride and leads the team with 23 points (2G-21A).
Tonight’s game, the final meeting for the Canucks and the Wild this season, will be another battle for first place in the Northwest Division. The Canucks do lead the season series 2-1, but were trumped in Minnesota just over a week ago.
13-8-6, 32 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 7th in Western Conference)
Suter has 14 points in his last 10 games and hasn’t gone more than 1 game without a point since February 7, 2013. He is also averaging a league-high 27:16 minutes of ice-time per game.
Alex Edler has 4 points (1G-3A) and is a plus-3 in his last 2 games. Though while his offensive contributions are welcomed by the currently offensively-challenged Canucks, his defensive breakdowns also seem to be more commonplace.
Dany Heatley is tied for the team’s worst plus/minus with a minus-11 and has only managed 2 assists in his last 5 games and 6 points in his last 12 games.
- With David Booth and Zack Kassian out, who replaces them? (Vancouver Province)