New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello tells Mark Everson of the New York Post that he will not trade pending unrestricted free agent forward Zach Parise before the February 27 trade deadline.
This news appears to confirm what coach Pete DeBoer told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger the day before when asked whether Parise’s contract situation has become a distraction for the team.
It hasn’t been a distraction (this season). I think, because our general manager has made it very clear that it’s not an issue. He’s not going anywhere. He’s a big part of our team. He’s our captain. I think that ended the distraction right there. It’s a non-issue.
Sources inform Everson’s that Parise will not negotiate a contract extension before the deadline, and he may not do so before the Devils stop playing hockey this season. Part of the reason is that he most likely wants to test the free agent market, but it may also have to do with Parise not wanting to cause a media circus around the team, as teammate and future hall-of-fame goalie Martin Brodeur hints.
I think he’s a really professional kid. Since day one he came here and wants to be the best player he can be. I think for him focusing on hockey is what’s important to him. Things will take care of themselves. Hopefully the Devils will be able to make a big commitment to him because I think, along with Kovy, he’s the face of the franchise. The Devils need a guy like that for the fan base. He’ll be taken care of but it doesn’t seem he’s getting affected.
Parise told Chere last Sunday that he will no longer discuss his contractual situation with the media.
Nothing has changed and I’ve told our reporters that they can stop asking questions about it because I’m done talking about it.
Everson suggests that the possibility remains Parise will get dealt. If he and the Devils don’t reach a deal before Parise hits free agency July 1st, the club may trade his rights in an attempt to acquire some assets for him.
It’s expected that if Parise does become a free agent on July 1st, he will be heavily pursued by a number of teams, including the New York Rangers.