Minnesota Wild and Zach Parise, a Match Made in Hockey Heaven?

Tim Meehan@timmeehan7Correspondent IMarch 20, 2012

New Jersey Devils Captain Zach Parise
New Jersey Devils Captain Zach ParisePaul Bereswill/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild spent this year's trade deadline making salary dumping moves. They traded Marek Zidlicky to the New Jersey Devils for a young forward who has potential (Nick Palmieri), a 2012 second-round draft pick, a conditional 2013 draft pick and two expiring contracts in Kurtis Foster and Stephane Veilleux.

Greg Zanon was shipped to the Boston Bruins for a young defeseman in Steven Kampfer. While Zanon would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, it did flip his $2.1 million salary into $700,000 in salary for Kampfer. And it brought some return on a player the Wild would not have re-signed.

The Zidlicky trade will have cleared about $3.5 million in cap room, if Palmieri doesn't find himself playing for the Houston Aeros next year. If he does play in the minors, it will have cleared around $4 million.

Then there was the Nick Schultz trade for Tom Gilbert. Both are 29, both are defensemen, and both have two years left on their current contracts. Gilbert is considered an offensive defenseman, while Schultz is a defensive defenseman.

The big difference, though, is that Schultz has a contract that will pay him $3.6 million each year, while Gilbert's contract reduces to $3.5 million next year and $3 million the following season.

According to the numbers at Cap Geek, the Wild are projected to have just under $18 million in cap room next season. Will that money be used to make a run at Parise? It is certainly possible.

Parise is a Minnesota native, something that Wild fans have an obsession with. It is possibly an even bigger obsession than winning. It is possible that if the Wild fielded a team of nothing but Minnesota natives and lost every game, the fans would be happier than if they won a Stanley Cup.

Even more important than the giant list of connections to Minnesota for Parise, like the fact that his father made numerous stops in Minnesota during his career, is the fact that Parise is the current captain of the New Jersey Devils.

If Parise were to come to Minnesota he would almost certainly take the "C" from Mikko Koivu, which could actually elevate Koivu's game by reducing stress on the center.

To get Parise to come to Minnesota, the Wild would be looking at a deal that is somewhere around $48 million over six years, for a cap hit of around $8 million a year. Although there is a possibility he would take less to come home to play hockey.

There is, however, some sentiment around the league that the salary cap will be going down next season due to the fact that the current CBA will be expiring in September. The owners apparently want to reduce the piece of the pie that the players receive, as well as reduce the salary cap.

While it seems the Wild are making moves to clear room for Parise, it could also just be in preparation for a new CBA that lowers player salaries as well as reduces the salary cap. This summer is sure to be interesting, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and head of the NHL Player's Association Don Fehr apparently readying themselves for a battle.