Every now and again a rumor will surface so outlandish that it makes you think it’s actually plausible. One such rumor has been perpetuated by the infamous anonymous hockey blogger Eklud. The controversial rumor blogger suggests the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings may be looking to swap prized restricted free-agents, Zach Parise and Drew Doughty.
To date both teams remain at a virtual standstills with their respective talents. The Devils don’t appear to be in any real hurry because they have Parise for at least another season after filing for team-elected arbitration. The hearing is scheduled for August 3rd in New York. Doughty on the other hand is not arbitration eligible and must either be re-signed or the Kings risk a lengthy hold-out. Both scenarios create an ideal situation to give birth to internet rumors.
This rumor in particular is spawned by the belief that New Jersey simply can’t compete without a star on the blue line and the fact that Kings GM Dean Lombardi covets an offensive player of Parise’s caliber. The rumor never considers that the Devils just drafted Adam Larsson and resigned Andy Greene whom the team has tremendous faith in. Nor does it consider the blockbuster deals pulled off by the Kings thus far this summer. It simply assumes a simple fix would be to swap one player for the other.
The rumor also fails to explain how a flip-flop of personnel would resolve the actual issue holding up either player from re-signing, money.
The Devils have a hair shy of $5.5 million left in cap space (23 contracts) and based on the recent market Parise could command somewhere between $6 and $7 million per season. The Kings have just under $10 million in cap space with just 21 players under contract. While it’s not exactly clear how much Doughty is seeking the consensus is that it’s a substantial amount and certainly more than either New Jersey or LA are comfortable with. So that brings me to my point.
Why the heck would it make any sense to swap these two guys? The money is steep for both players and while both are exceptional talents it hardly seems like the best solution given both teams economic situations.
New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello has already gone on record saying the Devils will do everything in it’s power to sign the star winger. Meanwhile, Lombardi was quoted recently as saying the talks with Doughty have “accelerated” and described his 21 year old defenseman as “a player that you envision being a cornerstone of your franchise.” Not exactly words a GM would use to describe a player he plans to trade.
I’m not normally in the business of questioning rumors but I couldn’t pass on this one. But, hey if Eklund is right and the players are swapped for each other I wouldn’t be shocked one bit. Afterall this is Lou Lamoriello and Dean Lombardi we are talking about.
In the end though I expect both players to remain with their clubs and they’ll all live happily ever after.
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