That buzz created by signing two big stars turned out to be a false start for the Minnesota Wild.
First there was the lockout. Then they sputtered through a shortened season, barely made the playoffs and were bounced out quickly by the Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Well, here's their chance to try again. Coach Mike Yeo kept his job, and the Wild made more moves toward completing the cast around centerpieces Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
"There were just some areas I thought that last year we needed to get a little better in at some positions," Parise said.
Five players among the top 13 scorers were let go: Matt Cullen, Devin Setoguchi, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Tom Gilbert and Cal Clutterbuck. Veteran Matt Cooke was added for toughness on the third line. Keith Ballard was signed for depth on defense. The acquisition of Nino Niederreiter fetched the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft. Goalie Niklas Backstrom and defenseman Jared Spurgeon were brought back on new contracts.
Minnesota opens the season vs. Los Angeles Oct. 3.