NHL Free Agent News – April 23, 2011.

Updates on Zach Parise, Evgeni Nabokov, Michael Frolik and Chris Campoli.

NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports it appears increasingly likely New Jersey Devils management will take restricted free agent winger Zach Parise to arbitration. Parise is open to signing a multi-year deal but thus far there’s been no contract talks between the two sides. If the Devils file for arbitration it’ll make Parise ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club. Looming over the situation is uncertainty over what the next NHL collective bargaining agreement will contain once the current one expires next year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils filing for arbitration would be a clever tactic to prevent Parise from receiving an offer sheet. If they’ve yet to agree to a new contract prior to July 1st I would expect GM Lou Lamoriello to do this. It is surprising Lamoriello hasn’t begun contract talks yet with the Parise camp but he does have the luxury of time, and could be merely waiting to confirm next year’s salary cap ceiling before opening talks in earnest. Re-signing Parise however won’t be cheap, as he could be seeking in the ballpark of $6 million per season.

NEWSDAY (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Katie Strang reported the New York Islanders will “toll” the contract of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov toward next season. Nabokov was claimed off waivers at mid-season after signing a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings but refused to report to the Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nabokov brought this upon himself, as he could’ve avoided this mess had he merely agreed to play out the final two-three months of the season with the Isles, as he would’ve become a UFA again this summer. Now, he’ll either have to play an entire season with the Islanders, sit out again in hopes the club will give up and place him on waivers or trade him, try to play overseas again (which he probably won’t be able to do as he’ll remain suspended by the NHL), or perhaps consider retirement. This does create an interesting scenario heading into next season, as the Islanders have the oft-injured Rick DiPietro plus Al Montoya under contract, as well as young Kevin Poulin waiting in the wings. Maybe Nabokov will be considered insurance if DiPietro is unable to start next season, or perhaps management sees Nabokov as a potential bargaing chip.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Brian Hamilton reported restricted free agents Michael Frolik and Chris Campoli are hoping to return with the Chicago Blackhawks next season. The pair were acquired by the Blackhawks in February, and both have played well for the club, particularly in their opening round playoff series against Vancouver. Campoli earned $1.4 million this season while Frolik made $1.275 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Blackhawks will have the cap space to retain them, it could depend on the pair’s salary demands. With around $51 million invested in next season’s payroll, the ‘Hawks also need to re-sign goalie Corey Crawford plus find an affordable backup, and have to re-sign or replace Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer.



  1. It would be clever to file for arbitration, but it would also make him a free agent after next year if Parise goes.
    I’m still mad at Parise for getting injured this year though, he totally tanked my pool lol!

  2. Parise becomes a free agent next summer only if he and the Devils fail to agree to a new deal and he gets an arbiter awarded contract for next season.

  3. Chicago has 51M invested in 14 players. So that will leave about 11M (if the cap goes to 62M that is) to sign 7 or so players. So it’s not as comfortable as you 1st stated.

  4. I don’t believe I stated it would be comfortable, Sandy, especially since I also noted how much they had invested for next season.

  5. That’s pretty much what I meant to say. If parise wants out of NJ or wants to test the FA market, all he has to do is wait it out and go for arbitration.

  6. The Hawk will have the $4,157,753 they paid out in bonsuses to trophy winners and Cup win clauses…

  7. Nabokov is a moron for not reporting to the Islanders. As the writer said, all he had to do was finish the season for what amounted to 2-3 months and then all the cards would have been in his favor. Now, no matter what, he’s likely perceived as a problem child by all the other GM”s around the league as it is a rather small tight knit fraternity

  8. Boy, if you ever wanted to take advantage of a team with cap issues, the Blackhawks would have to be at the top of your list. If you were the Oilers, for example, you could float an offer to Frolik of about $2.8M per season (2nd round pick as compensation) and then if the Hawks matched, you could float a similar offer for Brouwer. Oilers (or Florida, or NY) could afford the cap hit and get a second line centre/winger or a strong third line player.