Wild still in the mix for Parise

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As we previously reported, Zach Parise isn’t expected to sign tonight. However, he has whittled his options down to a “small select group,” according to his agent, Wade Arnott.

Michael Russo of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune sources’ say that the Minnesota Wild are on that short list. It sounds like the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, and possibly Philadelphia Flyers have also made the cut.

That list doesn’t really contain any surprises and all of those teams certainly have some appeal to them. If anything, the Wild might seem like the odd team out as they are the only squad on that list that failed to make the playoffs in 2011-12. Of course, Parise is from Minneapolis and might ultimately give in to the allure of playing for his hometown team.

Parise is easily the best forward in the 2012 unrestricted free agent class. After him the next tier of still available free agents includes Alexander Semin, Shane Doan, Olli Jokinen, and Jaromir Jagr. You can throw Teemu Selanne in there too if you think that there’s a chance he’ll do anything other than re-sign with the Anaheim Ducks or retire.

When Parise makes his decision, the losers will probably scramble to try and land one of the remaining top-six caliber forwards left on the market.