MONTREAL - The Devils have a decision to make before next monthís NHL trade deadline: Do they deal star winger Zach Parise?
With Parise set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, the Devils are desperately trying to keep their 27-year-old captain from testing the market, but if heís not signed in the next month, GM Lou Lamoriello may have to consider moving him before Feb. 27.
League sources say Lamoriello has been gauging what Parise could fetch, but heís in a difficult spot because the Devils are in the thick of a playoff race and it would be tough to trade an impact player for prospects.
If the Devils decide to make a move, the Wild will be at the top of the list trying to land Parise, who is a Minneapolis native.
Should Lamoriello make the move, heís going to want a top young player, a prospect and a first-round pick in return.
If thatís the case, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher might be wise to wait until the off-season to try and sign Parise as a UFA.
OFF THE GLASS
If the Pierre Gauthier era comes to an end in the off-season, as many NHL insiders expect, Habs owner Geoff Molson has a couple of interesting candidates for the GMís job: Lightning assistant GM Julien Brisebois, a former Montreal assistant GM, and broadcaster Pierre McGuire. The Habs will also keep a close eye on Bolts coach Guy Boucher. His team is under pressure to make the playoffs and if they miss then the landscape in Tampa will change ... Toronto GM Bryan Burke has promised to make a move. He wants to get ahead of everybody else and it would appear Anaheim F Bobby Ryan is his top target. It will cost Toronto either Joe Colborne or Nazem Kadri, along with a another prospect and a No. 1 pick to land Ryan.
THIS íNí THAT
After dealing for Mike Cammalleri, the Flames consider themselves playoff contenders, which means captain Jarome Iginla wonít be going anywhere. That decision will be put off until the summer, and there will be plenty of interest if the Flames do decide to make a move. The Capitals, Kings and Sharks are all looking for help up front. The Sharks might be a surprise, but theyíd love to get some support for C Joe Thornton and Iginla would be a nice fit ... The Predators are scrambling to try to re-sign potential UFA D Ryan Suter. If they canít work out a deal, Philadelphia could be a landing spot where the Flyers need someone to replace the injured Chris Pronger. Suter would be a nice fit, but the Flyers are also looking at Carolina D Tim Gleason as a rental ... Expect to see Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford start unloading any second. He has a lot of UFAs and wants to get money off the books with the club going nowhere fast.
AROUND THE BOARDS
Columbus GM Scott Howson is likely minding the store until the end of the season now that heís fired coach Scott Arniel. Expect Howson to try to make one big move before the end of the season: Dealing major off-season acquisition Jeff Carter, who is out with a shoulder injury. Neither Carter nor Howson are happy with the situation in Columbus and it might make sense for both sides to move on. Expect Burke to show an interest, but it could be tough for Toronto to make a big deal like that at this juncture. Carter is signed through 2021-22 with a $5.2-million cap hit so the market is going to be limited ... The leading candidate to be the next GM of the Jackets: Former Toronto GM John Ferguson Jr., who is quietly working away as a scout for the Sharks.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
Keep an eye on Buffalo C Derek Roy because his name is popping up all over the place in trade talk. League sources say GM Darcy Regier believes the Sabres need to get bigger and might be offering up Roy. The 28-year-old, 5-foot-9 Roy, who has a cap hit of $4 million, is on the books through the 2012-13 season. The Ottawa native has struggled this season, putting up only eight goals and 16 assists in 41 games. Regier will only make a move if he can get a centre in return. The Blackhawks are looking for help in the middle and may show interest. The landscape in Buffalo has changed because owner Terry Pegula isnít spending money to miss the playoffs, he wants a Stanley Cup ... The Penguins are a team worth watching as the trade deadline approaches. Whether C Sidney Crosby returns, GM Ray Shero has the assets to deal and money to spend to try to make sure Pittsburgh makes the playoffs. With C Jordan Staal and, hopefully, Crosby back before the playoffs, the Penguins need help on the wings. Top candidate: P.A. Parenteau of the Islanders would be a nice fit.
Have a nice Sunday.