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Even if Brodeur is back next season, New Jersey would still have an enormous hole in their lineup if they cannot re-sign LW Zach Parise.
Unlike Brodeur’s post-game interview, Parise would not field a single question pertaining to his future with the Devils. Parise is arguably the top prize in this year’s free-agency class.
New Jersey has $28 million of cap space, and just about every chunk of that change needs to go towards Parise’s contract.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes that Parise’s deal will be modeled after center Brad Richards’ of the New York Rangers. Richards signed a nine-year/$60 million contract last offseason, making $24 million in the first two years.
Sure, it’s a huge sum of money, but Parise is someone the Devils cannot afford to let go. He played all 82 games in the regular season this year, scoring the second-most goals and the third-most assists for the team.
ESPN analyst Barry Melrose says that Parise’s decision will not be about the money, but rather where Parise can hoist the cup for the first time in his life.
Alongside the Devils, the front-runners in the Parise sweepstakes seem to be the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes. A few more teams have said they are interested, and who wouldn’t be? Every coach wants a player like Parise, someone who can be a two-way forward and a leader on the ice.