Devils’ Parise will soon wear new jersey
The clock is not only ticking on the Devils’ season, but on Zach Parise’s career in New Jersey, for when the puck is dropped tonight for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it will start the countdown at T-minus-60 on the captain’s impending unrestricted free agency
This all but certainly will be the final summer in which, a) players will be allowed to sign front-loaded contracts with huge signing bonuses that this year will also serve as lockout-protection; and b) players will be permitted to sign contracts without term limits.
Indeed, Parise can expect offers modeled after the nine-year, $60 million contract Brad Richards signed last summer with the Rangers, under which the center is receiving $24 million the first two years, including a $10 million signing bonus last July and an $8 million signing bonus due next month.
Parise, who will turn 28 next month, could attract offers of up to 12 years. He will certainly receive front-loaded, bonus-laden offers from the Rangers and Red Wings, who have millions to spend and the inclination to do so.
The Wild will be in, though Parise might want to think more than twice about going home to join a team in which he would be the best player by leaps and bounds.
The Sharks could be in. The Maple Leafs will be, though current general manager Brian Burke doesn’t believe in front-loaded deals. The Bruins could become a serious contender. There will be others.
Given the financial realities in New Jersey, it’s almost impossible to conjure the scenario in which ownership could cut Parise a $10 million check on July 2. And again, that’s even assuming Parise’s first choice is to remain a Devil.