As the final buzzer sounded in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night, New Jersey Devils captain and seven year veteran Zach Parise had his focus shift from winning the coveted cup to figuring out where he is going to play next year.
Parise becomes a free agent for the first time on July 1st, and there are multiple teams reportedly in the running to sign the 5’11” winger. However, it appears that the Minnesota Wild may have the inside track.
A Minneapolis native, Praise attended Shattuck-Saint Mary’s, and spends a lot of his time during the off season in Minnesota. But according to former Minnesota North Stars president and general manager Lou Nanne, the advantages for the Wild don’t stop there. Earlier this week, Nanne made his weekly appearance on “Reusse and Mackey” on the Twin Cities’ ESPN radio affiliate, KSTP. Nanne, who had lunch with Wild owner Craig Leipold last week, made some very interesting comments about the Parise situation. Here are some of his intriguing insights:
“…the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink at him. I think there’s a good chance he ends up in Minnesota, because I don’t see anybody in the National Hockey League willing to give as much to Parise as the Wild are going to be willing to give. So I would not be surprised if Zach Parise came home.”
“They’re going to do everything in their power to get [him].”
“[I] can tell you this: No one is going to outbid the Wild. So if Parise goes somewhere else, you can bet he’s going for less money. What I said is, ‘the kind of money that they’re going to offer him, he might as well just come here and own the team and in his later years, win the Stanley Cup as an owner.’”
“…the kind of money [Leipold’s] going after him [with] – I don’t see how Parise’s not coming here.”
Obviously, Leipold made it well known to Nanne that he wants to bring Parise to St. Paul very badly. It’s also clear that the people of Minnesota want him here. How much will it take to make that happen? Nanne estimates at least $8.5 million.
Make no mistake, the Devils will do their best to resign Parise, and he has said all along that he loves playing in New Jersey. However, his agent was reportedly not engaged in contract talks during the season, so Wild fans have to hope that the two sides will not get a deal done quickly before the July 1st deadline. Given the timing of the situation, a pre-deadline deal with the star is becoming increasingly unlikely.
Parise would bring even more offensive firepower to a team desperate for goals. The Wild ranked last in the league in shots per game and goals per game in the 2011-2012 season, and that was after adding superstars Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi to the roster. A 69 point scorer last season (31, 38), Parise would be the addition that Minnesota is looking for.
Parise had his best season in 2008-2009, when he recorded 94 points (45, 49). Since his rookie season, he has tallied no less than 62 points when playing a full season. It is not only this kind of production, but this kind of consistency that could help Minnesota take the next step towards becoming a contender.
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