Updates on the status of Zach Parise, Brian Rolston, Andy Greene and Johan Hedberg.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Tom Gulitti reports re-signing Zach Parise, upgrading the defense, finding a successor for Martin Brodeur and being smart with their salary cap are amongst the keys to the New Jersey Devils off-season. Parise is still waiting to see where he fits into the Devils off-season agenda as contract talks have not yet begun, though GM Lou Lamoriello admitted re-signing him is a priority. Parise has said he hopes to remain a Devil. Free agent defenseman Andy Greene also hopes to re-sign with the club, while backup goalie Johan Hedberg isn’t sure if the Devils will re-sign him or if he’ll return with the club, as he’d prefer to be closer to his family near Atlanta. He said he intends to sign with an NHL team and has no desire to play overseas, adding when he returns to Sweden it’ll be as a retired player. Fellow UFA Adam Mair also expressed hope of re-signing with the Devils.
NJ.COM: Rich Chere reports veteran forward Brian Rolston, who has one year remaining on his contract, also hopes to return with the team next season. Rolston saw reduced ice time earlier in the season and was placed on waivers but went unclaimed, yet his play improved when Jacques Lemaire took over the coaching duties at mid-season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils will likely open contract talks with most of their free agents, especially Parise, in the near future, and I expect they’ll try to re-sign him to a long-term extension, but I also expect they could file for salary arbitration to make him ineligible to receive an offer sheet. If Hedberg hopes to be closer to his family he might want to consider Tampa Bay or Florida, as it’s unlikely the Thrashers would be interested in bringing him back, plus it’s possible that club could be sold and relocated this summer. Rolston has a “no-trade” clause but even if he agreed to waive it I doubt there would be much interest in him. The Devils are stuck with his salary for one more season.