July 2, 2012
Wild speculation surrounds Parise
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
Zach Parise is going to Minnesota.
Not to play for the Wild -- at least not yet -- but to hunker down and consult with his family on the biggest decision he will probably face in his professional life.
Arguably the top NHL free agent available this summer, the 27-year-old forward has been taking offers from NHL teams at the offices of his agent, Wade Arnott, in Toronto. It’s believed the top contenders for his services remain his old club, the New Jersey Devils, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and the Wild.
A fun assumption to make -- purely speculative -- is maybe he’ll be back in Minnesota to announce his signing with the Wild in person Tuesday.
While the hockey world -- judging by Twitter, which is such a sure measure of such things, right? -- seemed to be getting cranky over the length of time Parise was taking to make his decision, it’s hard to begrudge a guy doing his due diligence. The money is probably competitive from all the bidders - somewhere in the neighbourhood of $80 million for the next 10 years with about $25 million due in the next calendar year - but there’s a lot more to it than money.
Does Parise want to leave the Devils, where he is the captain and has played all of his NHL games?
Can Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, and newly-signed goaltender Martin Brodeur, who spoke to Parise a few times in the last 24 hours, convince him to stay?
Will ownership’s financial problems have have long-term ramifications for the Devils competitiveness?
Can anybody guarantee that?
Can he turn down the attraction of lining up beside Sidney Crosby with the Pittsburgh Penguins and -- as much as can be certain in a league where an eighth-seed can win the Stanley Cup -- play for a perennial Stanley Cup contender?
They are weighty -- if not “waity” -- questions.
“It’s such a long-term, important decision, you have to make sure you look at everything,” Parise told reporters Monday when he emerged from Newport Sports offices.
In the absence of a decision from Parise -- or defenceman Ryan Suter, also at the top of this year’s thin free agent class -- there was other news, much of the interesting stuff coming out of the Northeast Division.
The Montreal Canadiens, as expected, got goaltender Carey Price signed to a six-year, $39-million deal. Price’s hit is higher than that of Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick, who recently re-upped with the Los Angeles Kings for $56 million over 10 years. It should be kept in mind it’s easier to bring a cap hit down with a longer term deal.
Quick actually makes $7 million a year for the first seven years and then the deal falls off to $3.5 million, $3 million and $2.5 million at the end. By the way, Price, who missed the last three games of the regular season after teammate David Desharnais fell on his head in practice, said he has not experienced post-concussion symptoms and expects to be on the ice next week.
In Buffalo, the Sabres finally moved oft-rumoured centre Derek Roy to the Dallas Stars for gritty forward Steve Ott and defenceman Adam Pardy. That certainly makes it look like the Sabres aren’t done. They now have a hole for a number one centre and there are rumblings they are in the hunt for Columbus Blue Jackets scorer Rick Nash.
Lots to chew over while we wait for the Parise and Suter decisions.
By the way, if having to wait for a Parise or Suter decision is that big an issue, why doesn’t the league do what it did in the case of Justin Schultz, the college free agent? He was allowed to talk to teams right after the draft (as of midnight Sunday that weekend) and weigh offers, but couldn’t sign until July 1.
Why not do that for all free agents? There could be a week of wining and dining and everybody gets to say where they are going July 1.
Everybody goes on vacation.
Just a thought.