One day after the deals were completed, Craig Leipold was still trying to digest the reality of landing the top two free agents. The Minnesota Wild owner was looking for difference makers with star power. He wanted his franchise to become relevant again. And he wanted to arouse his hockey-loving fan base.

He checked all the boxes when homegrown winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter signed 13-year contracts worth $98 million. The $196 million commitment was $66 million more than the cost to build the Xcel Energy Center. It was $29 million less than he paid for the entire franchise in 2008.