With the Stanley Cup Final over, the New Jersey Devils face off-season questions regarding some key players, particularly captain Zach Parise. Read on for the latest.
NJ.COM/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils will now try to re-sign team captain Zach Parise before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1st, plus determine the futures of goalies Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg (both are eligible for UFA status), as well as the future of defenseman Bryce Salvador.
Regarding Brodeur, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said it’s up to the goalie if he wants to return, but added he’ll be a Devil as long as he wants to be. The Devils also decided not to part with their 2012 first round pick, which they could either use themselves or attempt to trade. As part of the penalty for attempting to circumvent the salary cap by signing Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils had to part with a first round pick in either 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014. They retained their first round pick last year.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Brodeur said he’ll make a decision about returning or retiring on July 1st, adding the focus of Devils management should be upon re-signing Parise. “Besides Parise, Petr Sykora, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and the entire fourth line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier, are all pending unrestricted free agents.”
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the LA Kings will be among the suitors for Parise if he becomes a UFA on July 1.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo believes the Minnesota Wild will be praying Parise wants to return home to Minnesota as a free agent. Russo also believes the Wild could aggressively pursue Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter if he also hits the UFA market.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi counts the Flyers among the potential suitors for Parise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regarding Brodeur, the assumption is he’ll return for one more season. It remains to be seen if Hedberg still has a future with the Devils. Salvador could get a new contract, though it could be limited to one-or-two years because of his age (36) and injury history. Sykora, Ponikarovsky, Janssen, and Boulton won’t be back. Their fourth line will be, and yes, I believe they’ll re-sign Bernier, despite his costly match penalty in Game Six of the Cup Final. Before that, he played well for the Devils. As for Parise, that’s less of a certainty, as no one knows for certain if this year’s playoff run will sway him to stay a Devil, and if the club can even afford to re-sign him, given their rumored financial problems.