Greetings Canes fans! In my previous article, “Key Free Agents to Watch This Summer” I mentioned five free agents that could help the Carolina Hurricanes 2012-13 season. I briefly covered Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Alexander Semin, Chris Kelly (who recently resigned with Boston), and P.A. Parenteau. Now I would like evaluate the free agents pros and cons. What better way to start this article than by covering the most highly touted free agent of the summer LW Zach Parise.
Many General Managers that are looking to make a significant move to improve their team have been salivating at the potential that Parise has to offer to their team. In the post season, he netted 8 goals and 7 assists. His regular season stats aren’t too bad either with 31 goals and 38 assists.
Zach Parise has plenty of upside. He is a natural leader from his days as a Fighting Sioux from University of North Dakota, to representing the great country that we live in the 2009-10 winter Olympics and most recently he wears the “C” on his sweater for the New Jersey Devils. Ever since his second year in the NHL, Parise has averaged at least 30 goals and 30 assists along with being a leader on and off the ice. If it was not for the Devils current financial situation it is highly doubtful Parise would be on this list, but fortunately for Canes Management, and about 15 other teams, the Devils situation may be their gain. So why not break out the check book and sign Parise by penciling him in with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty? It’s not going to be that easy. For starters, the bidding on this elite left winger is going to be steep. How steep? Well, in July 2011 he signed a 1 year $6 million contract. So I could realistically see Mr.Parise raking in about $7 million per year.
Now I know Canes GM Jim Rutherford has gone on record stating he wanted to add a tier-1 forward, however is $7 million a year for 1 player a commitment we want to see the Canes make? Keep in mind that Eric Stall is making $8.25 million per year and Cam Ward is making around $6.3 million per year. My crystal ball says the young #53 Jeff Skinner is going to be up for a contract the following year. If you don’t want the entire female population in the state of North Carolina picketing in front of the PNC Arena because you can’t give Skinner the contract he deserves, you might not want to put all our eggs in the Parise basket.
I think Zach Parise would be a tremendous asset to the Hurricanes organization. However, with the price that Parise is going to demand, I don’t think it would be a smart choice for Canes management to go down that road as well as try to compete with some of the big market payrolls. When Kirk Muller took over as the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, I think we can all agree things were bad. It took some time for players to buy into his philosophy and work ethic but once this team did, you could see the progression and the capabilities of this team.
It may be a little more realistic to look for a forward that might demand less than Parise. Then see how this team adjusts with a full offseason under Coach Muller and his staff. Looking further down the road, the 2013-14 free agent class is much deeper than this year’s. Maybe the Canes will make a somewhat conservative approach when seeing if Coach Muller and the Canes can build on what they did the second half of last season.
On Monday I will be covering Nashville Predator’s defensemen, Ryan Suter. The free agency madness officially begins July 1st. I have no doubt there will be a few surprises with trades and signings throughout the NHL. In the meantime grab your shades, grab your beach towel, and grab your sunblock so you can enjoy the great weather in the great state of North Carolina. Before you know it, it will be October again and time for a trip to the PNC Arena.