Penguins and Flyers Trades Could Spawn Suitors for Devils' Zach Parise

Mark BatorAnalyst IIJune 24, 2012

The Devils have until July 1 to re-sign Zach Parise, or risk losing him to free agency.
The Devils have until July 1 to re-sign Zach Parise, or risk losing him to free agency.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Two recent NHL trades in the Keystone State could cause problems for the Devils when it comes to re-signing Zach Parise.

Accepting the very real possibility that their captain, Chris Pronger, may not return next season due to his uncertain injury status, the Flyers pulled the trigger on a big trade, obtaining defenseman Luke Schenn (whose younger brother, Brayden Schenn, is a forward with the Flyers) from the Maple Leafs in exchange for forward James van Riemsdyk.

The Leafs, who filled a need of their own by obtaining the 6'3" forward (via ESPN), are banking on a bounce-back year for van Riemsdyk, who played in only 43 games this past season due to injuries.

Similarly, in the western part of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Penguins were busy rearranging some of their personnel as well when they traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes (where he, too, will join his older brother Eric Staal) in exchange for the No. 8 pick in the draft, center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (via ESPN).

Staal, who missed 20 games due to injury, still went 25-25-50 this past season. While Brandon Sutter went 17-15-32 in 82 games this year, it presents the very real possibility of a noticeable drop-off in Pittsburgh's offense this upcoming season. For a team that made an early exit in the 2012 playoffs, that situation is likely one that will need to be addressed.

If you're the Devils, these trades could give you cause for concern. Both the Flyers and the Penguins gave up offense in these transactions, and players who provide it in the NHL are often in short supply. But just across the river from Pennsylvania is a talented young forward named Zach Parise who could fit the bill for both these clubs.

"We tried to improve our defense over the last few days," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren regarding the NHL draft and the Schenn trade, via ESPN. "I don't think anything shuts the door on anything else we may look to do to improve the hockey team."

The Penguins may still need to clear additional cap space in order to fit a high-priced free agent, however, which could mean at least one more trade out of Pittsburgh (via NBC Sports).

Parise, who was 31-38-69 in 82 games this past season, was a former first-round draft pick (17th overall) in 2003. New Jersey has only until July 1 to sign him or else he becomes an unrestricted free agent, which, according to Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press, Parise says is "a good problem to have."