Minnesota Wild marketing czar John Maher knew the team might sign Zach Parise or Ryan Suter this week. He even scheduled a skeleton crew for Wednesday in case something came down on the Fourth of July.

That wasn't enough.

By late morning, when news broke that the Wild had signed both of the marquee NHL free agents, Maher quickly called in reinforcements.

"We had 20 people in the office -- website people, communications guys, marketing and sales folks," Maher said. "As the day went on, we added people to answer phones. Even though it was a holiday, people were hearing the news, and the phones started ringing. Once one salesperson would hang up their phone, it would start ringing again."

For a team slipping toward irrelevance in recent years, the addition of Parise and Suter can do much more for the Wild than just improve results on the ice after four straight non-playoff seasons.

The Wild have scored a marketing coup. They now have area stars headlining the club for the first time, adding a telegenic Minneapolis native in Parise and a likable Madison, Wis., product in Suter.

The news dominated local radio and TV sports coverage this week, with national shows also weighing in on the twin $98 million deals. And the early effect of Parise and Suter on the bottom line has been pronounced.