The New Jersey Devils filed for arbitration today with Zach Parise, and eliminating the opportunity for Parise to become a restricted free agent on July 1st, essentially guaranteeing that he will be on the Devils' roster next season.
Per Tom Gulliti's Fire and Ice blog, Lou Lamoriello confirmed that the filing for arbitration is simply the team "protecting its rights."
The team is expected to continue talks with Parise to try and come to an agreement on a long-term contract before any arbitration hearing takes place. As I've said pretty much since the season ended, the Devils are going through the process per the rules allowed for them, all while doing what they need to do to ensure Zach Parise is on their roster for many years to come.
Assuming there are no hiccups in the negotiations, you should expect Parise to sign a long-term deal for a cap hit in the neighborhood of $7 million and to eventually be named the ninth team captain in Devils history.
He should be a fixture for the Devils and one of the key cogs for the team to continue to build itself around along with Ilya Kovalchuk for the foreseeable future.
There has been plenty of talk amongst NHL fans and rumor mills that Parise wanted to leave New Jersey, or that a team GM was going to try and trade for him.
In the next few weeks, it will all shake out and in the end, the other teams' fans will most likely be disappointed in the fact that they will see Zach Parise remain a New Jersey Devils for years to come.
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