Asked to comment on his contractual situation, New Jersey Devils pending unrestricted free agent forward Zach Parise tells Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com make sit clear that he has no interest in discussing it.
I won’t be answering any questions about free agency.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello tells Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger that this is not the appropriate time to worry about contract and free agency — regardless of which player it may concern. The Devils have more pressing matters at hand, like trying to win the Stanely Cup.
Right now we’re not even thinking about that. Zach is not thinking about that. None of the players are thinking about anything else. The only focus everyone has right now is what is at hand. Time will take care of what has to be done. I’m not thinking about it because right now the future of the franchise is today. We’ll worry about that at an opportune time. This is a conscientious decision on Zach and my part to let it sit and we’ll go from there.
Still, management and ownership has to be a little worried that their 27-year-old Star palyer could sign with another team July 1st without the club receiving any compensation in return.
The Devils’ captain is expected to be much sought after if he reaches free agency without a contract. Haggerty lists the New York Rangers, hometown Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings as potential destinations, with the Boston Bruins as a dark horse. It’s expected that Parise will command a contract averaging between $7-9 million per year.
Speculation is that the Toronto Maple Leafs — who have a need for a top-line center, and the financial wearwhthal to meet his financial needs — may target him come July 1st, as well.
Some believe that winning the Stanley Cup with the Devils may help Parise decide to stay in New Jersey. Lamoriello doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
I couldn’t tell you if there is an advantage or disadvantage. We’ve been through all different scenarios over the years.
Parise’s agent, Wade Arnott, told ESPN on May 10 that he isn’t really sure whether a Cup win would do influence his client’s decision on where he will play next season.
I don’t know. Does the fact that they’re showing well and taking a longer run and becoming more competitive, is it the right fit? I don’t know the answer to that. It probably bodes decently for the Devils.
A few days later, on May 13, Parise was evasive when asked the question by Mark Everson of the New York Post.
It means a lot. It means we have a lot of good, young players who are going to be here a long time. I’ m enjoying this, we’re playing well. [My contract situation is] not even crossing my mind.