not to come back to parise hindsight, but that's one where lou not only "put up a fight" in that he offered him a serious contract, but had the opportunity before the going home with his buddy scenario presented itself. if ownership was a bit more in line, it's conceivable he could've signed Parise to 7/50 going into last season. I'm pretty sure parise would've taken it. hell, he was almost ready to take it during the season but his agents advised him against it. when you're 4 months away, it makes sense to wait - especially when minnesotta let it be known they would not be outbid. but the summer 2011, that wasn't out there. of course, he was coming off his knee injury but that's one where lou had a kick at the can very early and didn't/couldn't take it. when he tried mid-season, it was too late.
edit: and for the "lou doesn't negotiate in-season and he's stuck in his ways" people - just look a zajac. he took care of him because they felt that was a known quantity they wanted locked up.
i'm sure that he knows he can keep elias if he wants. elias isn't going to leave for spite. if someone offers him 3/18 or something and we all want to kill lou because he could've had him at 2/10 but once he hit ufa, the bidding took him away, we'll revisit.
as for clarkson, he says all the right things (clarkson that is). lou knows what he is and has made up his mind that is worth X dollars. he wants clarkson on that deal. but if he starts negotiating in season, and clarkson says no, you're raising what you thought was your best offer.
in my mind, parise and neidermayer were the only guys lou lost that he really wanted to keep. perhaps holik was the same but i'd let HOI answer that. in the end, there was nothing he could've done to keep any of them once they hit UFA. that is NOT the case with elias and clarkson. if he wants them, he'll keep them, UFA or not.
My point wasn't that these were all guys who were gone ipso facto. More like we were never gonna have $20M upfront for Parise, so you're right on with that. Same with Nieds, except Lou tried even harder on that, the best he could. A max contract offer wasn't enough to keep him, so what else was there to do?
With Gio, Gomez and Martin, they all left for money we sure as sh!t weren't gonna give them. And honestly, I wouldn't have wanted any of them on the contracts they got.