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Will Zach Parise test the UFA Market?


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Good read from NJ.com

Zach Parise emerged from the visitors’ dressing room early, as he often does for a morning skate.

The Zamboni had finished resurfacing the TD Garden ice in Boston and the Devils’ 27-year-old captain took a seat on the bench to wait for the remaining wet spots to freeze. As he waited, Parise looked up and studied the Bruins championship banners hanging from the rafters.

“I don’t want to say there is a little sense of jealousy, but you want to have that experience and that feeling more than anything when it comes to hockey,” Parise said of winning a Stanley Cup. “Being jealous of that is okay. There is nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

“That’s something you want to be part of. Trust me, you want to win a Cup more than anything. That’s why you play. That’s what we’re striving for.”

Parise is in his seventh season with the Devils and he has won nothing. He hasn’t played in a second-round playoff series since 2007 and the team missed the postseason completely last season.

Although he is recognized as one of the top stars in the league and respected for his work ethic and skills, Parise wants more. He wants a ring.

“When you’re here for seven years and have never been past the second round, you realize it’s going by quick,” he said. “You see how hard it is. There are 29 teams every year that are disappointed, so it’s not easy. You’ve got to get lucky, you have to have a great team and you have to have a healthy team and avoid injuries at key times. A lot of things have to fall into place.”

This is a pivotal season in Parise’s career. He will become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Although the Devils say they’d like to sign him to a long-term deal, it is likely he will test the market.

How the Devils do this season and what Parise perceives as the club’s future chances of winning a Cup will be hugely instrumental in whether he stays with the Devils.

“He could sign a long-term deal here,” said former Devils center Bobby Holik, who left the Devils in July of 2002 to sign a five-year, $45 million contract with the Rangers. “But is he going to do that when there is an uncertain future? How far away are they from contending?

“Luckily, no one is too far if you do the right things. It doesn’t take seven years. But what is the goaltending situation after this season? Who is going to play in net? What is the financial situation with the team? There are a lot of things to consider.”

One of them is money. Parise is making $6 million this season, but $8 million is a very realistic figure.

“Some players want to go and get the most money they can, which is fine,” Parise said. “Do whatever you want. Then you have a lot of players who want to be somewhere where you’re going to have the best chance to win.

“I think any player in the situation I’m in has to look at everything. For me, most importantly you look at the team. You look at the area you live in. You look at everything from top to bottom because it’s hopefully where you’re going to spend the rest of your career. So you have to be sure you do your research on everything and make sure it’s somewhere you want to be and where you are comfortable.”

He has, it should be noted, made it clear he’d like to stay with the Devils. But if he does, it could be for less than other NHL teams might offer.

That’s happened before with the Devils. Certainly Martin Brodeur could’ve made a lot more as an unrestricted free agent, but he stayed with the Devils even when the NHL Players’ Association pleaded with him to test the market.

Brodeur admits there was some temptation.

“It was because of the people around me saying: ‘You should try it. Just to see,’  ” Brodeur recalled. “But my mentality was just to secure my family. It sounds bogus when you say that. People think, ‘Come on.’ For me it was a question of stability and where I’d be staying for a while. It wasn’t a question of dollar signs at all when I made those decisions.

“The NHLPA said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ My answer was, ‘You’re not the one who’s going to face 50 shots a game if you go somewhere else, so I’ll do what I want to do.’ I always made my own decisions. I don’t have an agent. That helps, too. I can make my own decisions without somebody in my ear.”

Parise has an agent, Wade Arnott of Newport Sports Management, who’d undoubtedly like him to test the market.

With the “C” on his sweater, Parise feels this is his team now.

“In my position I think you do feel like you’re expected to do more and you’re expected to lead the team to (a Cup),” he said.

Is there a Stanley Cup in the Devils’ near future? Will that question determine where Parise plays after this season?

“We all think so. We all hope so,” Parise said. “But you can’t predict. You almost feel like teams have the ability to turn it around quicker than they used to. You can have an idea of who is going to be in the playoffs, but once you get there anyone can win it.”

Holik, his wealth and two rings in a vault, said: “It’s not (Parise’s) fault he hasn’t won a Cup. It’s all timing. You have the same chance now of winning with 20 teams in the league.”

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This is going to be a huge decison for Zach. From a Flyers perspective, it would be nice to see him go UFA....perferably to the Western Conference...lol. A lot of questions surrounding the long term viability of the Devils. Henrique is obviously a fine young talent....and Kovy is locked up long term, but the depth is just not there at forward. The questions in goal are my biggest concern. Looks like we might have a Brett Farve situation brewing in Jersey. Brodeur looks like he is recanting on his pending retirement. Then you have Hedberg who is late 30's (pretty sure anyways). The long term answer in goal might just be Wedgewood, but that would be a few years away. If I was Zach and wanted a ring, I'd be looking elsewhere also.

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This is going to be a huge decison for Zach. From a Flyers perspective, it would be nice to see him go UFA....perferably to the Western Conference...lol.

He's be a great fit in Detroit. As hf101 says, it'll probably be in the offseason. But he's a young, extremely talented forward looking for a shot at the Cup. Wanna be a Wing, Zach?

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