Zach Parise: Why the Devils Will Be Able to Re-Sign the Star Winger

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIJune 28, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils looks on as Dustin Brown #23, Anze Kopitar #11, Justin Williams #14 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate Kopitar's goal in the second period of Game Three of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, the New Jersey Devils would be foolish to let star winger Zach Parise walk in free agency.

Coming off another incredible season for the Devils, Parise will be the crown jewel of the 2012 free agent class.

With numerous teams like the Detroit Redwings and Minnesota Wild ready to poach Parise from the swamps of Jersey, a desire to win—and to win now—will keep the captain in a Devils uniform for the foreseeable future.

Here are the key selling points for the Devils.

Well-rounded roster

The Devils are neither starting from scratch nor putting together a contender over night. This team has been on an upward trajectory for the last few years.

Led by their star Parise, the Devils have a tremendous amount of talent including winger Ilya Kovlchuk and precocious center Adam Henrique.

The team is balanced and has the right amount of veteran leadership.

While Hall of Fame bound goalie Martin Broduer is old at 40, and his backup Johan Hedberg is only a year younger, the Devils have few holes in their stacked roster. Last year's postseason proved that this team is an offensive and defensive juggernaut. 

Keeping Parise will only make this team better, pushing them higher into hockey's upper echelon.

As Mark Everson of The New York Post notes, "Parise is believed to be putting primary weight on his evaluation of a team’s chances of winning a Stanley Cup." The Devils give him the best opportunity to do so. He is familiar with the team and the management, and should pick up next season where he left off.

While the Kings had an incredible postseason run, what they did on the road in the postseason was unprecedented and unsustainable.

For all intents and purposes, the Kings' road glory will go down as an aberration in 2012, and order will return to the NHL next season.

This instantly keeps the Devils in the talks for contender status. Few teams in the Eastern Conference rival them in roster complexion, and they should be able to take the necessary steps to keep Parise in an already potent rotation.

Money v. ceiling

The Devils' financial woes have been well-chronicled heading into this offseason, and New Jersey's potential to underpay Parise is concerning for Devils fans.

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 09: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates with Ilya Kovalchuk #17 after Parise scores a goal in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings during Game Five of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on Ju
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Still, New Jersey should be able to do some contract rigging to keep Parise long-term.

The Wild, the Redwings and other teams, have made it an open secret that they will make moves to acquire Parise if he decides to test the market.

Parise is just entering his prime and his numbers speak for themselves. In 24 postseason games, the stud winger scored eight goals and contributed as an elite play maker with seven assists. 

A leader in the Devils' forechecking game, there are few better two-way players than Parise.

At just 27, Parise has not even reached his ceiling and should find himself adding to his already impressive resume in the immediate future.

He has earned a max contract.

Yet Parise's commitment to winning could have him pulling a refreshing move in the money-driven NHL.

If he actually believes in the Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, then the captain might take a small pay cut to remain on a familiar contender.

Time is of the essence, as the Devils need to start making offers to Parise before other teams reach out.

The first domino to fall

As the most coveted free agent, Parise is commanding the majority of the attention in New Jersey, overshadowing other Devils with expiring contracts.

Backup netminder Johan Hedberg and defenseman Bryce Salvador will be looking for new contracts.

Retaining these crucial veterans will be key for the Devils if they hope to make another championship run. Strong voices in the locker room, Hedberg and Salvador have surely had an impact on Parise's rise in the NHL.

Look for Parise to be the first domino to fall, as his decision of where to play next season will dictate the rest of the Devils' offseason plans.

Reloading, rather than rebuilding, should be the front office's mantra this summer, as with Parise the Devils will make another deep playoff run in 2013.


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