NHL Free Agency: Sidney Crosby Must Sell Penguins to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJune 29, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 20:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 20, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Sidney Crosby isn’t just getting paid to sell tickets.

On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they had re-signed their injury-prone superstar to an insane 12-year, $104.4 million deal. Crosby must repay their generosity by giving a $104.4-million effort to recruit Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported before Crosby’s contract extension was even official, that the Pens would pursue Parise and Suter in free agency. They are the most talented players on the open market and reeling in either would be a huge boost for the Penguins. Signing both, though, would instantly make them a favorite to win the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.

But pulling off such a pair of transactions will take precision.

Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger reported that Parise isn’t even sold on leaving the New Jersey Devils. When asked if saying adios was a done deal, he responded.

Not at all. I’m sure a lot of people will think that, but that’s very far from the case. If it does happen to get to Sunday, that’s by no means saying I don’t want to go back to New Jersey. I know the perception would be, “Oh, he wants out.” But that’s not the case. I haven’t been lying. I’ve said all along how much I like playing in New Jersey. So that wouldn’t be me saying, “I don’t want to play there anymore.”

Now, Parise just so happens to be a long-time friend of Crosby’s. It’s one of the reasons why the Pens are favorites to sign him. If Crosby gets in his ear early and often, he could be able to sway him from the Devils.

From there, would Suter really pass on an opportunity to play alongside Crosby, Parise and Evgeni Malkin? Not likely. And that’s why Crosby must win over Parise as quickly as possible because you better believe his decision will influence Suter’s.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.