After the Minnesota Wild traded defenseman Nick Schultz to Edmonton for defenseman Tom Gilbert, some of the media pundits asked why this deal had been made. And while most agreed that it was because the Wild needed a guy who could skate the puck out of their zone without turning it over, there were others who thought other, more Machiavellian reasons were at play.
Perhaps the Wild acquired Gilbert in an attempt to curry favor with either (or both) Zack Parise or Ryan Suter. After all, Parise and Gilbert played youth hockey together in Bloomington and Suter and Gilbert both played for the University of Wisconsin at the same time. This is complete and utter hogwash. Gilbert, Parise and Suter are not Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Does anyone actually think Parise would give Minnesota the edge simply because Gilbert is here? Imagine this exchange:
Parise's agent: "Zack, you've got 5 similar contract offers here, each for about $8.0 million a season for 5 years. The offers are from New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia and Boston."
Parise: "Dang! All of those teams, with the exception of the Wild, were playoff teams last season and are legit Cup contenders, but you know what? I'd love nothing more than to play with this kid I played Squirts with 20 years ago. He seemed like a good guy then."
In order, here are the reasons why big-time free agents choose their new team:
2. Quality of Team.
3. A Great City.
4. Number of Players on the Team You Played Pee-Wees with.
Get a grip, people, the Wild have to win first in order to attract the best.