As the second day of the 2012 NHL Free Agent frenzy begins, one of the biggest prizes on this year's open market is expected to make his decision on Monday.
The prize: Zach Parise.
Without further ado, let's take a look at each of the six teams supposedly (via Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger) are left in the chase for the Orono, Minnesota native.
Let's start off with his hometown team: Minnesota Wild—Different from all the other teams on this list, the Wild are not necessarily in win-now mode, but nonetheless offer an attractive destination for Parise.
Orono is just about 40 minutes away from the Twin Cities and would provide Parise with an opportunity to inject some life into the middling franchise.
According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, the Wild are the team that is in the best shape to handle the cap hit that would come about by signing Parise or Ryan Suter. The roster wouldn't require nearly as much restructuring as some other teams on this list.
He'll be a fan favorite anywhere he goes, but imagine Parise coming home and trying to reverse the fortunes of those in the "North-Star State"?
Those are the stories that makes sports great.
Detroit Red Wings—My gut tells me that the Red Wings will focus all of their attention on Ryan Suter, but here is the case for them signing Parise anyways.
Despite an aging roster in some areas, Detroit still features a solid core around which to build, and the addition of Parise, along with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, would give the Red Wings three of the top forwards in the league.
He would also help to fill the leadership void created by the departure of Nicklas Lidstrom.
With that being said, Detroit's need to sign Parise isn't quite as pressing as the need to sign Suter.
Philadelphia Flyers—If the decision was based on contract security alone, then the City of Brotherly Love would be the easy choice in this case.
According to CSN Philadelphia, the Flyers have reportedly offered 12-year deals to both Suter and Parise.
If the North Dakota product were to sign, it would give the Flyers arguably the best offense in the NHL and provide them with a player who can help ease the potential loss of Chris Pronger in the locker room.
Pittsburgh Penguins—Even scarier than the aforementioned potential trio in the Motor City would be a group of forwards that includes Parise, Sidney Crosby and Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin.
From the perspective of Bruins fans, no team in the Eastern Conference would want to go through that to simply get to the Stanley Cup.
If this happens, the NHL would have their own version of the Miami Heat.
The only difference would be that Parise wouldn't announce his decision on a national TV special.
This does have a legitimate shot at happening, however, and according to the Twitter account of Pierre LeBrun, Crosby has joined in the recruiting process of trying to bring his long-time friend to the Steel City.
Los Angeles Kings—If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
All joking aside, it doesn't appear likely that Parise will sign with the Kings.
There isn't much more to say here, barring a drastic change later on today that completely blindsides just about everyone.
New Jersey Devils—Simply put, this is the only NHL team that Parise has ever played for.
He even said himself that he has tried to get a deal done with the Devils prior to free agency, but the two sides haven't yet reached an agreement.
"I said all season, and I wasn't lying, that my priority was to get something done with New Jersey."
That is what Parise told TSN Canada last week, and I still agree with him that re-signing with the Devils may actually still be his top priority.
Now that we've taken a look at each of the teams remaining in the Zach Parise sweepstakes, I'm going to say that he ultimately re-signs with the Devils and stays with the only NHL team he has ever played for.
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