The 2012 NHL free agency feeding frenzy kicked off on July 1 at noon Eastern time, and many teams got to work right away, scooping up some of the smaller fish in the pond.
We are now two days in and the two biggest fish, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, have yet to take the bait dangled in front of them.
The free agency watch has slowed considerably, and a great deal of that has to do with the fact that Parise and Suter have yet to put pen to paper, which will make them very, very rich men as well as set the market for the second-tier free agents that are also looking homes.
This slow-down is frustrating for fans and NHL pundits, but it has to be worse for not only the teams that know they are in the hunt for the two stars, but also the players that are waiting for Parise and Suter to make their decisions.
Fans will either be elated or despondent when the two sign, and pundits will get busy pontificating on the merits or flaws of the signings. But the other players will have a lot more to consider once the names Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are scribbled across NHL contracts.
These players will not get contracts anywhere close to the dollar amount or the term that Parise and Suter will receive, nor will they get to pick from a pool of teams as deep as the two prized free agents have to choose from.
Defensemen like Matt Carle and forwards like Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Semin will need to consider dollars, location and the likelihood of winning the Stanley Cup when they sign their contracts. The unfortunate thing for players like them and some others is that they can’t really make those decisions until they are certain who will land Parise and Suter.
Teams that are currently in the mix are not going to actively pursue the second-tier players, and the teams that may be pursuing these players could not be of interest to the players. It’s all a very strange dance, and the NHL hockey clubs, as well as the select free agents, can do nothing but wait and see where Parise and Suter lead them.
As day three of NHL free agency approaches, many questions remain unanswered.