Wild owner Craig Leipold made himself abundantly clear during Wednesday’s preseason game against the St. Louis Blues.
As he reflected on this past offseason—and in turn the Zack Paris-Ryan Suter era overall—Leopold evoked a sense of inner peace with general manager Bill Guerin’s decision to buy out the franchise’s former faces over the summer. .
Although the move to cut Parris and Sutter shocked the fan base as well as the rest of the league, Leopold himself signed everything at the time, and he still thinks it was the right move.
“I’ve had no regrets since he built it,” Leopold told reporters in his boss’s room. “off course not.”
Now that doesn’t mean it was easy for Leopold to move on. He challenged Guerin at various points throughout the process, and after months of deliberation, they eventually agreed it was a good move for the future of the franchise.
Why was Leopold finally okay with making such a big decision?
“Because he convinced me of it,” Leipold said of Guerin. “It was the right move to the locker room and the right move for our young players. It was the right move for us to move on, and frankly, Ryan and Zach, I don’t think they’re sad where they are. I think things are going to be okay for them.”
Asked how he views the Paris-Sutter era, Leipold remained steadfast that he thought it was right to sign both players in the first place right now. If he could go back to July 4, 2012 – the day Paris and Signe signed their matching 13-year, $98 million contract – Leipold said he wouldn’t change a thing.
“Will I do it again?” Leipold said. “In a full second.”
Although Wilde never won a Stanley Cup with Paris and Sutter on the roster, he finished with a respectable 354–237–74 record, and missed the playoffs only once in that period.
“It was not a failure,” Leipold said. “It completely changed our franchise. We went with no ticket sales and a future looking bleak overnight as a sell-out team for the next five or six years.
“Have we reached the level we want?” Leipold added. “No we didn’t. And the same is true of them.”
Still, it’s clear that Leipold looks at that time period with great affection in the grand scheme of things. Now it’s time to turn the pages.
“I think we have a lot of new players in the team and the youngsters are moving forward and it seems like this is a new chapter,” Leipold said. “We are moving forward with new players, a new philosophy, a new locker room, a new captain. And I think everyone has embraced it.”