Parise was a dynamic force for the New Jersey Devils in their recently completed postseason run.
The Devils got better in each of their first three series as they became the Eastern Conference champions after beating the archrival New York Rangers in the Conference Finals. However, they just didn't have enough to stay with Los Angeles Kings and lost in six games.
Nobody could blame Parise. He tallied eight goals and seven assists in the Devils' 24 postseason games. He led the league with 92 shots on goal during the postseason.
Parise was coming off a season in which he had 31 goals and 38 assists. While his 2010-11 season was ruined by groin and knee injuries—he only played 13 games—Parise has scored 30 or more goals in five straight seasons when he has been healthy.
More than the stats, Parise is an energetic skater and hitter every time he is on the ice. He is one of the keys to the Devils' strong forechecking game, and he would make any team better because he plays so consistently and with so much effort.
We are going to keep you updated with the latest free agency rumors and chatter concerning the Devils' star up until the signing period begins, so keep it here all week.
Update: Tuesday, June 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET
It's assumed that if the Devils don't sign Parise, 27, to a new deal before the start of the free-agent signing period that he will be gone and won't play for the Devils again. Parise refuted that to the Star-Ledger's Rich Chere when he said that he hasn't ruled out staying with the Devils once free agency begins.
“Not at all. I’m sure a lot of people will think that, but that’s very far from the case,” he told Chere. “If it does happen to get to Sunday, that’s by no means saying I don’t want to go back to New Jersey."
However, at least three teams are prepared to make strong offers for Parise, and possibly a fourth. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes and they have the salary-cap room to pursue Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. General manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma could end up putting Parise on the same line with Sidney Crosby if they are successful.
Parise is a Minnesota native and if they could sign him, they would have a franchise player for years to come. Former Minnesota North Stars general manager Lou Nanne, who still has strong NHL ties, said the Wild will prepare a "huge" offer for him and that they are prepared to outbid the competition.
The third team in the running is the Detroit Red Wings. Parise has never made any secret about the way he admires how the Red Wings play. He especially likes the way Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk attack the game. The Red Wings also have money to spend. They are $19 million under the cap, according to MLive.com's Ansar Khan.
The Philadelphia Flyers were bedeviled by Parise in their 5-game second-round loss. Paul Holmgren knows how good Parise is as a scorer and that he has a great all-around game. Sam Carchidi of CSN.com says that the Flyers are serious about Parise. However, the Flyers don't have much room under the cap and if they are going to make a serious offer, they are going to have to cut significant salary from their roster.
Update: Thursday, June 28 at 12:45 p.m. ET
Sidney Crosby will sign a 12-year contract extension with the Penguins July 1, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The new deal reportedly will pay Crosby $104.4 million over its term.
That will give the Penguins a salary-cap hit of $8.7 million per year. That will not hurt the Penguins when it comes to making an offer to Parise, whom they have targeted since they traded Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes last week.
Update: Thursday, June 28 at 3:15 p.m. ET
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings also have an interest in Parise and are likely to make a play for him when free agency opens July 1. According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi admires Parise's competitiveness and sees him as a strong asset for the team if they can get his name on a contract.
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