Despite an ownership rift and the league keeping them financially afloat, the New Jersey Devils say they won’t let financial issues affect potentially re-upping with star LW Zach Parise.
“The only thing I’ve been told is it’s not going to make a difference. There won’t be any problems,” Parise told The Star-Ledger. “That’s what I’m going on. I don’t really know enough about what’s happening behind the scenes with the ownership.”
And just what exactly is happening with ownership? Well, there’s still the small matter of repaying/refinancing an $80-million loan that’s gone into default…so you can see why negotiating with Parise might not be priority No. 1 at the moment.
But it could be a priority soon. While Devils GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t one to negotiate contracts during the season — only once has LouLam made an exception, and that was for Martin Brodeur — the unique situation at hand might force him to. There’s a strong possibility the following scenario unfolds:
— New Jersey keeps Parise past the trade deadline, unsigned.
— New Jersey misses the playoffs.
— Parise goes to July 1 and becomes an unrestricted free agent.
If this does transpire, it could be curtains for New Jersey. Parise’s stated publicly he wants to play for a winner and a team willing to spend to the cap (something the Devils might not be, regardless of what they say publicly.) There’s also the allure of being a UFA for the first time in his career in an offseason where the likes of Los Angeles, New York Rangers, Washington and Detroit are projected to have over $14 million in available cap space.