NHL Free Agency 2012: Many in the League Wait for Parise and Suter to Decide

John B Matheson@@JB_WebberCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2012

Could this be a sight in the NHL next season?
Could this be a sight in the NHL next season?

Day one of free agency was busy as usual, filled with minor deals across the league. Just over 60 deals were inked on July 1st and none included the best of this year’s class.

Most teams are making minor deals as they are waiting to see what happens with three of the biggest names in the 2012 free-agency class.

Zach Parise spoke to the media on Monday as he was leaving his agent’s office based in Mississauga Ontario.

The most prized free agent this year, Parise has been linked at some point to almost every team as a potential suitor.

Parise declined to tell the media which teams are actually in the running for his services next season.

Of those four (via The Globe and Mail) or seven (Spector's Hockey) teams rumored as Parise destinations, four are consistently making the list: Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Detroit and of course, New Jersey. Chicago. Philadelphia and LA have made other lists as well.

A month ago, Minnesota would have been considered a long shot, but if the rumors are true (as reported by the sctimes.com), they may have pulled of the biggest upset in this year’s free agency.

Chicago and Philly have been mentioned by a few rumor sites to have made the short list, Philly being rumored to have made an offer in the $80 million range, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Chicago has also been rumored to have made a substantial offer recently.

Los Angeles may be interested, though according to the LA Times, even the Kings are doubtful that they will acquire Parise based on the lack of information.

New Jersey is still thick in the mix, and could very well be among Parise's top two choices for the future.

When Parise is talking about the Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello, he seems to have open communication with the GM and support from team veteran Marty Brodeur.

Those reports came from TSN's Mark Masters (who broke the news through his Twitter account) and the NY Times, respectively. 

Lou Lamoriello is still trying to make the best decision for Zack Parise though.

As for Detroit, more on that later.

Ryan Suter has also remained very quiet on the topic of where he will play next year. Rather than fly out to his agent, the highly sought-after defenseman has used his cell phone.

Suter has, much like Parise, been connected (as listed on My NHL Trade Rumors.com) to multiple teams as serious contenders.

For the most part, all has been quiet on the Suter front; however, there has not even been a short list made for him.

At one point on July 1st, analyst Nick Kypreos from Canadian sporting news channel Sportsnet began to spread Suter rumors on Twitter that Suter had signed with Detroit.

It was quelled when analysts from rival media hubs questioned the Tweet. Yahoo! Sports Nick Costonika was first, followed by the verifiable Tweet made by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

It is the time of year in the NHL where rumors and speculation begin to filter through as verified news. For Detroit fans, it must have been frustrating.

While there are other teams involved with Suter, the main one getting press are the Red Wings.

That does not mean it will be his main destination; As Suter’s agent explained to ESPN, Ryan is looking at one 13-year deal.

Other than Nashville and Detroit possibly being on Suter’s list, all that is known is who has made serious offers. Oddly enough, they are the same teams in the running for Parise.

There is another interesting connection in the works as well with these two, who are good friends.

Reports from Fox Sports have been speculating that Parise and Suter could be a package deal.

If this is the case, Suter has stated he would rather not play for any Eastern Conference team, leaving three of the suitors in the running.

Detroit has been busy over the last few days signing a number of mid-talent players; if they are Suter’s top choice and Parise intends to follow his friend to the same team, Detroit will have to dump some salaries.

Chicago would have to dump some salaries as well in order to obtain both players for next season, even though the Blackhawks were rumored to have pulled out of the Suter (via HockeyBuzz.com) sweepstakes on Sunday. This is still unverified.

That leaves Minnesota as the lone team well below the cap that could sign both players without dumping any players.

It could also be that Detroit is preparing for Suter and Parise to sign elsewhere, bolstering their team to jump in on the Nash deal.

Either way, Suter and Parise signing to the same team is just speculation at this point, as is Detroit chasing Rick Nash.

Many teams and players in the NHL are waiting heavily on these two players to decide where they will play.

The Parise and Suter deals will decide the direction for many teams, as well as the asking price for players in the next tier down.


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