Zach Parise Free-Agent Watch Continues to Captivate the Hockey World, For Now

By Steve Palumbo

The month of July is  four days old and much of the NHL and its fans remain captivated by the whereabouts of New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise.

Typically July 1st is a frantic flurry of activity as teams works quickly to snatch up players that have become available. However, this year has been very much the complete opposite. Parise, an unrestricted free agent, is still mulling over several lucrative offers, including one from the Devils.

Both the teams making offers and the players are OK with taking their time in order to get the right deal with the right team. Parise is doing just that. The 27-year-old appears to be weighing several factors and according to him money is only a ‘small factor’ in his thought process.

He flew home to Minnesota from Toronto to be with his family and his fiance whom he will discuss all his options with before nailing down a team to spend the next 10-plus years with.

The Devils, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and his hometown Minnesota Wild are considered the favorites to land free-agencies biggest fish. The deals on the table are said to be in the neighborhood of 12 to 13 years and in excess of $100 million.

“There’s so much more than the money. That plays a very small factor in it,” Parise said. “My agents did a great job. You take the time to consider everything. You consider where you want to be for the next however long and however many years of your life. It’s a harder decision than I thought it was going to be.
“I’m excited for it to be over pretty soon.”

Parise said there’s no timetable for his decision and with the Fourth of July holiday it seems likely a decision won’t be reached until Thursday at the earliest. This doesn’t sit well with many Devils fans desperate for Parise to remain loyal and return to the team that drafted him in 2003. Others appear fascinated by the process and even seem to enjoy the wait.

Many hockey enthusiasts have been glued to their computers and phones, checking rumor websites and refreshing Twitter over and over in hopes of reading some Earth-shattering breaking news. There is even a “#PariseWatch” hashtag being used on Twitter to keep track of the seemingly never-ending saga.

Until Parise finally makes up his mind, the hockey world will play spectator to a decision that will effect the rest of his career and his life. It’s the closest thing to reality show drama the NHL has had since the Ilya Kovalchuk contract drama a couple of summers ago. (Hmmmm, a see a common theme there.)

However this ends, wherever Parise ends up, the whole hockey world will be watching and enjoying every moment of it. That is unless he’s not signing with their favorite team. That may sting a bit, especially if the team you root for plays in New Jersey.

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