2012 NHL Free Agents: Zach Parise or Ryan Suter Better for Philadelphia Flyers?

Dan Adams@danxx5Correspondent IIIJuly 2, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck as goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings lays on his back in the third period in Game Four of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The 2012 NHL free-agent class has now had its chance to talk with the teams interested in their services. Headliners Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have yet to make their decisions known, while some of the second-tier free agents such as Ray Whitney and Jason Garrison are now off the market.

The Philadelphia Flyers are always active in the offseason, and 2012 has been no exception. They have, as expected, extended offers to both talented forward Parise and star defenseman Suter.

On the surface, this should seem like great news for Flyers fans; their team is going after the best players it can.

But according to ESPN's Pierre Lebrun the Flyers are offering both players huge contracts, something that should scare any fan who has followed Philadelphia over the past few seasons given its tendency to commit to a lot of years and money at a time when the team has many young players approaching significant raises.

The Flyers appear to be close to having all the pieces to contend, assuming that Ilya Bryzgalov can keep his act together this season, and it seems like the organization is set on acquiring a big name to complete their offseason adjustments.

But since they can only pick one, and this choice will help define the organization for seasons to come, which superstar should Flyers fans be hoping for?

Parise offers leadership, a great two-way game, and playoff experience to the Flyers. The left wing also fills a need, as the team currently lacks for talent at that position.

He immediately makes an already potent offense even deadlier.

Suter, on the other hand, offers the Flyers both a shut-down and puck-moving defenseman all rolled into one. He can carry a ton of ice time and help make the power-play even deadlier with his good passing skills.

The Flyers' best scenario would probably be to sign Parise and then re-sign Matt Carle, a solid defenseman who plays like a lesser version of Suter.

If they sign Suter their options to acquire a top-six forward would be limited to re-signing the defensive liability known as Jarmoir Jagr or trading away the future in a blockbuster deal to bring in either Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan.

Parise can help the defense as well as the offense, as the Flyers' forwards looked were a liability against Parise and New Jersey in the playoffs.

They seemed slow to react to the aggressive forecheck and didn't appear to provide the defensemen with enough support. 

Signing Zach Parise or Ryan Suter would instantly make the Flyers better, but Parise is the better option given the alternatives available.

Assuming they get their pick of the two, the Flyers should sign Parise