In April, [Wild owner Leipold] told the Star Tribune that his team wasn't turning a profit, and put the onus on player salaries:
"We're not making money, and that's one reason we need to fix our system. We need to fix how much we're spending right now. [The Wild's] revenues are fine. We're down a little bit in attendance, but we're up in sponsorships, we're up in TV revenue. And so the revenue that we're generating is not the issue as much as our expenses. And [the Wild's] biggest expense by far is player salaries."
Three months later, Leipold authorized his general manager to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to contracts totaling $196 million — including $50 million in signing bonuses in the first three years of the contracts.
Everyone keeping up now?
This is why there has to be brakes on the insanity that is player contracts. The players themselves, while not totally blameless, are certainly not the prime reason for the hole that the Wild are carefully digging themselves. And while I'm not opposed to Leipold being creative with his future as an owner, he's taking an awfully dangerous risk with the franchise, one that could hamstring it for the next ten years or more. And that's likely into the reign of the next owner, after Leipold goes bust or decides hemoraging money isn't such a good idea after all.