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Parise May Be Victim Of Devils’ Cap Woes

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#1 westcoastdevfan


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Posted 21 July 2011 - 02:12 AM

Posted ImageDevils Need Zach Back!

Even in the midst of the scorching summer heat, contract talks between the New Jersey Devils and All-Star forward Zach Parise remain ice cold. Although the two sides have been talking, very little progress has been made towards locking up arguably the Devils best player.

Re-signing Parise is the last of the major tasks Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello has left on his off season to-do list. In fact Lamoriello has been quite the busy little beaver since the season ended with a trip to the post season for the first time in 14 seasons. In the past six weeks he’s been able to draft highly touted Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson, re-sign unrestricted free agents D Andy Greene and G Johan Hedberg. He added some grit by signing former Devil and fan favorite Cam Janssen along with fellow tough guy, UFA Eric Boulton to deals. And last week Lamoriello finally found a replacement for the irreplaceable Jacques Lemaire when he hired former Florida Panther head coach Pete DeBoer.

Now the Devils Boss must turn his attention to his toughest task to date, locking up his best player with a financially feasible long-term deal. In a recent interview with Devils beat writer Tom Gulliti, Parise mentioned that he’s been paying close attention to other contracts being dished out around the league. It’s obvious Parise knows his value and wants to be compensated fairly. The problem is the Devils don’t have the cap space to hand out Brad Richards or Steven Stamkos money.

Thanks in part to another salary cap increase (now $63.4 mil), New Jersey find themselves with a bit more breathing room. Unfortunately, the $5.5 million in space they have remaining is still not nearly enough to sign Parise comfortably, who is expected to fetch in the $6 million plus per year range. It appears the team in content with sitting tight and letting the independent arbiter decide Parise’s worth.

Unless Lamoriello and his star left winger can agree on a new contract beforehand, they will meet on Aug. 3 in Toronto for the team-elected arbitration hearing.

Although Parise’s value goes beyond dollars and cents, the arbitration could get ugly in that he was limited to just 13 games and only 6 points (3g 3a) last season because of knee surgery. And despite indications that the Devils intend to sign Parise to a long-term deal, their lack of cap space and a possible labor stoppage after the 2011-12 season could make a one-year deal the Devils best option.

I just wonder what kind of long-term effect, if any, the arbitration hearing will have on the four-time 30+ goal scorer. One would have to think that there needs to be some kind of movement soon by the Devils or the potential damage may be irreversible.

Furthermore, the longer this goes on without resolution the more panic and frustration will replace patience and understanding in the minds of the Jersey faithful. Lamoriello and the Devils may have bought themselves some time but, for some reason it’s already starting to feel too late. Should be interesting to watch the whole thing play out.

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