NHL Free Agents 2012: Will the Boston Bruins Try to Sign Zach Parise?

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMay 8, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 04:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center on January 4, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins need to make improvements to their top-six forward group after a disappointing offensive display in the first round of the 2012 NHL playoffs against the Washington Capitals. To remedy the situation, general manager Peter Chiarelli may look into the free-agent market this summer.

The biggest name on the unrestricted free-agent market is New Jersey Devils star forward and captain Zach Parise, a 27-year-old superstar about to hit the prime of his career.

Parise would be smart to test the free-agent market since many teams, including several Stanley Cup contenders, will likely show interest in signing him.

One of those teams, according to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, might be the Bruins.

Detroit is going to make a pitch along with Minnesota. Don’t be shocked if the Bruins try to find a way. They haven’t got much room under the salary cap but GM Peter Chiarelli has a history of shrewd moves ... 

The Bruins could certainly use someone like Parise for their power play and overall goal-scoring needs. He is a reliable player who plays the game hard and is a tremendous leader.

However, the Bruins have a number of young players that the team will need to either extend soon, trade, or let go of through free agency.

Take a look at the Bruins players who will be entering the final year of their current contracts next season.

Player 2012-13 Salary Cap Hit FA Status (UFA/RFA)  
Milan Lucic $4.1 million RFA  
Tim Thomas $5.0 million UFA  
Tyler Seguin $3.55 million RFA  
Brad Marchand $2.5 million RFA  
Andrew Ference $2.25 million UFA  
Nathan Horton $4 million UFA  

That's six important players who will go into next season in the final year of their deals, and while Thomas and maybe Ference might not fit into the team's long-term plans, the rest of the players listed above do. 

Excluding Horton, the other forwards are restricted free agents, which means the Bruins have a bit more control over these players. If Marchand, Lucic and Seguin have good seasons next year, I would imagine that all three would get long-term contracts.

Each of them, especially Seguin, is likely to command yearly salaries of $4 million and above. All of this excludes the fact that Chris Kelly (UFA), Gregory Campbell (UFA), Daniel Paille (UFA), Brian Rolston (UFA) and Tuukka Rask (RFA) are all free agents this summer.

So the Bruins will have a lot of salary cap space tied up in a number of players if they choose to keep the core of the team intact, which would be a smart decision going forward.

That means that signing Parise, who could easily earn $7 million or more this summer as a free agent, would be tough for Chiarelli to accomplish and still sign the other important Bruins players on the roster to new contracts over the next year or so.

I would be surprised if Chiarelli makes a strong push to sign Parise this summer if the Devils don't re-sign him before July 1, but there's no doubt that the Devils captain would be a great fit on Boston and satisfy several of the team's needs.


Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and has covered the team firsthand since the 2010-11 season. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.