Zach Parise was named captain of the New Jersey Devils today, a move that was not completely unexpected. Parise has been the Devils most consistent and outstanding player since breaking into the NHL in the 2005-2006 season, including a magical 45 goal/94 point performance in 2008-2009.
Now that the "C" is being sewn on his sweater (with Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias getting the alternate spots) inevitable questions circle about what this means for Parise's contract status. He was signed to a one year, $6 million contract on July 29 after a knee injury limited him to 13 games last season.
Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said today the decision was made by him, the assistant coaches, and General Manager/President Lou Lamoriello, adding that Parise's contract status didn't factor into the decision to name him captain.
"I hope Zach is here for many years to come." DeBoer told ESPN New York's Katie Strang. DeBoer then added, cryptically, "anything that doesn't happen on ice level, I block out."
Reading between the lines here, this (like everything in the Devils organization) was Lou Lamoriello's decision. Can anyone imagine a situation where DeBoer and/or his assistants disagree with Lou and actually get their way? Me either. Lou has, and always will, run this ship his way.
So, establishing that this move had Lou's approval, we inevitably have to ask the question: Would Lou Lamoriello name Parise captain if he thinks there is any chance Parise leaves after this season?
The answer, of course, is no. Lamoriello will never admit it, and will deny it, but he would not allow the organization to be embarrassed by Parise leaving via free agency after only a year of wearing the "C".
Lou Lamoriello is like a master chess player. He doesn't make a move unless he has the next several moves already mapped out. Parise is here to stay, you can bank on it.