Free Agents: Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are in a situation that no team likes to find itself in. Zach Parise’s contract expires this summer, and not only does he look likely to test the market but he also seems a safe bet as the NHL’s most sought-after forward.

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2011-12 Cap Hit: $6.0 million.

Position: Right wing.

How the coach used him: Behind the Net shows an interesting situational dynamic for Parise. Devils head coach Peter DeBoer made Parise his go-to choice for tough opponents, but he also tried to get him out in offensive situations – Parise’s 54.2% offensive-zone start number is one of the highest totals on the team. He played 16:05/game at even-strength, 3:26/game on the power play and 1:57 per game on the penalty kill.

How he fared: Parise did a good job of driving the puck forward, albeit not as well as he has in previous years; given his serious injury in 2010-11 it probably isn’t unreasonable to expect further improvements as he returns to his pre-injury form. His even-strength scoring number (2.18 PTS/60) was excellent, the second-highest total on the Devils, but his power play total (2.94 PTS/60) was wretched and well back of his work in previous seasons.

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What McKeen’s says: “[G]ifted undersized playmaker with great drive and imagination .. equally dangerous as a shooter and passer, guided by remarkable accuracy .. deceptive skater powered by a wide, bow-legged stride .. agility and overall quickness have steadily improved… success is driven by an exceptional work rate away from the puck .. fearlessly battles in traffic and strives hard to arrive in scoring areas…”

My take: Parise is a high-end NHL player and a legitimate franchise talent. At his best, his two-way game compares favourably to just about anyone in the NHL, and he merges that with exceptional offensive abilities in all situations. He scored 31 goals and 69 points in an off-year for him and it seems entirely plausible that he can get back to his 80+ point level of a few seasons ago.

There’s no question that every team in the league would love to get a hold of him, and if he’s willing to sign at a reasonable dollar figure he can basically name his destination. If he’s looking to cash in, the options will get more limited but some team will send a Brinks truck his way if that’s what it takes.

He’s a phenomenal player with no significant weaknesses who can play a feature role on a Cup-contending team.

Key statistic: With 138 even-strength goals since the lockout, Parise is behind just 10 players in the entire league – and this despite the fact that we’re including his 14-goal rookie season and 2010-11, which he lost to injury, in the equation.

Other Free Agents

  • DSF

    Great player , before his injury he was a top 15 player in the league.

    He probably has 4-5 years left for elite status.

    It is unfortunate that he had a bad injury.

  • John Chambers

    I miss the good old summer days of Kevin Lowe when he would’ve thrown $81M over 9 years at Parise. We would’ve collectively been excited about it for three days until it didn’t pan out.

  • At last Jay Fester’s master plan will come to Fruition as he goes after Parise. Unfortunately, Burke will also make a play for what he sees as his penultimate type of hockey player. The two will jello wrestle for the signing in the most unwatched televised event in history. Once Burke comes out literally and disgustingly ‘on top’ Parise will sign with the Sharks thus returning San Jose to their dominant form with the one two punch of Thorton and Parise.

    I could also see him on the team that symbolizes his under the radar play style, Pheonix. He would fit in perfectly with that system and could make the dessert dogs a deadly team.

    If, however, dream of dreams, the Oilers get him, which I don’t think they could or even should, then they can trade the number one pick purely for NHL ready top end defense. Yakapov becomes a non-issue, we get badly needed veteran SKILLED leadership, and Hemsky gets pushed down to the third line along with Horcoff and Smyth making it the most overpaid third line in all of hockey. Yet another stellar record for the Oilers to hold. I would actually like to see him come over to the west as he’s an exciting player to watch. Here’s hoping whatever team he goes to is an exciting move and not your typical, I want to go to the red wings cause I’m old. Someone like Colorado, or Tampa, or Winnipeg. An up and comer that needs someone like this to push them over the top.

    • MC Hockey

      Ummm, that first paragraph was just weird, were you looking for a different type of website? Perhaps a specialized one? Sooooooo….anyways….now that Czechbeerman (Cerveza or Cervenka) is signed by Flames, no need to overpay for Parise! And nobody goes to Edmonton so that one was easy! Parise to Mnnesota to play in the future Central Conference (although that would be in his second year there).

  • Man, this is a guy everyone would want. The most underrated part of his game? Awesome at retrieving pucks in the corners and along the boards. Fast, tireless hard work, tenacious on the forecheck. Has played mostly LW with the Devils, but can play at any forward spot.

    Dreaming that the Canucks could sign him, but won’t be able to afford it. I really see Suter going to Detroit, then Parise going to Minnesota. But, in reality, any team in the league would love to make a spot for him, and the bidding will be tough.

  • I really hope Feaster’s plan doesn’t revolve around freeing up cap space and signing Parise. Similar to last years master plan of signing Richard’s. Parise is out of our reach. If he isn’t signed in NJ he likely ends up in Detroit, Boston, Philly, etc.

    That said, in my dream world I would love to acquire Parise. He is the kind of guy you can build a franchise around.

    He is one of the only players on the market I would be okay with them backing the money trucks up for.

  • Didn’t Parise say he has full intentions of staying with the Devils? The reason he is on a one year is because they wanted to get a deal done before the season started and were going to work on a long term during the year? I dont see him really as a free agent.

  • this article is so cute !!! anyone who thinks parise is going to the western conference is hilarious…. parise is gonna pick a team with a cushy schedule cause he’s a diva.

    my thoughts, not yours. i guess we’ll see in a couple of months.

  • Graham

    As a RW, Parise would only make sense as an Iggy replacement. Since I don’t think Iggy will be traded, Parise isn’t a fit.

    If Parise was a natural center, I might be tempted to throw the kitchen and bathroom sinks into signing him, but even then, I expect it would have to one hell of an offer to tempt him to sign in Calgary.

  • Bucknuck

    I hate to say it but for some reason I could see the Canucks getting him some way or another.

    Canucks make me puke and I really hope this Luongo/Schnieder situation comes back to hurt them. Imagine if they get rid of Luongo and Schneider cant handle a work load of a full time goalie and craps the sheets, or if they get rid of Luongo and Schneider becomes a better goalie. The fans will be all over managment and Luongo might request a trade since he just gets dumped on in Van. I hope I witness the fall of the ever mighty Canucks sooner than later.

    But ya Parise is a sick hockey player and would make any team better. Now if only the Oilers got him some how and drafted Murray. FTW

  • Oilers4ever

    You better hope the Flames don’t do that and succeed. Parise is an awesome player… but with Hall, Ebs, Yaks and RNH all going to be needing contracts through the next 1-3 years, there is no way in hell we can afford him at the 7 mill plus he will command. Better to throw the cash at a dman.. offensive players are not where our issues are…

  • Oilers4ever

    Oh and there is no hope in H E Double Hockey Sticks he signs with the Jets… he will want to play somewhere with a team that has chances to get to the cup… If the Devils get to the cup final (which they could conceivably do when you have Marty Brodeur in net), I think he resigns in NJ….

  • PutzStew

    Why would you replace Gagner with a better Gagner? You’d be better keeping Gagner and playing him with “2” good line mates….not just Hall…and see what happens. Bet he breaks the 50 point mark with ease.

  • Bikeit

    I remember watchinhg him at world Juniors and he dominated. The Flames draft Phaneuf and i am thinking OMG what about Parise. All those idiot scouts don’t like him and he drops to like 16th. Pierre Mcguire is incensed that he drops that far and puts a pox on the other NHL teams that missed him and calls them idiots. You could see this kid was money. If the flames scouts had a monkey at the wheel they proably would have drafted him and all that phaneuf history would be not and we would have an elite center.

  • Two words:

    Yeah. Right.

    As much as I’d love to see the Flames roll up to Parise’s house with a dump truck full of money and a lifetime supply of chocolate, I doubt he’s going to end up in Calgary. Or even Edmonton.

    Most likely will be re-signing with the Devils, moving on to Minnesota, or some high profile team such as the Kings or Rangers.