But if Minnesota hockey icon and former Minnesota North Stars' GM Lou Nanne is to be believed, the Minnesota Wild have a plan to ensure that Parise is much more amenable to a return to his hometown state.
That plan? Offer him money -- nay, the most money.
Nanne appeared on Minnesota's KFAN Sports Radio Wednesday to discuss what players the Wild might target this offseason, and Parise came up in a big way. "I really don't think they're gonna get him signed," Nanne said of the Devils, before explaining the Wild's plans, should Parise hit the open market:
"I had dinner with Craig Leipold on Wednesday night. I know Chuck Fletcher and Craig Leipold really want Parise, and what Craig told me is how hard he's going to go after him, and the kind of money he's going after him, I don't see how Parise's not coming here.
"I can tell you this: No one is going to outbid the Wild. So if Parise goes somewhere else, you can bet he's going for less money. [...] I'm not going to say the figure, but it's going to be plenty. It's gonna be a lot more than I ever expected. It's gonna be so substantial that I cannot see Zach Parise turning it down."
It's worth noting that Nanne doesn't work for the team at all, and he may not be speaking on behalf of anyone that does. This is an important distinction to make, because it's how you get around the tampering accusations.
Now, I'm not saying Nanne's doing the Wild a sly favor here. But I'm also not not saying it.
Parise's other comments Wednesday indicated that he might be leaning towards re-signing in New Jersey, and after such a close brush with Cup glory, it has to be even more tempting for him to forego free agency and re-up with the Devils before the month is up.
Lou Lamoriello still has two weeks of exclusive negotiating rights; that could be enough time to appeal to his head and his heart.
That's a scary notion if you're a team like the Wild that covets Parise, especially since you're not allowed to muddy the waters with any grand romantic gestures until July 1. No doubt Parise knows he's a hot commodity, but that alone might not be enough for him to put off signing until they can talk to him.
This is when it's helpful to plant a bug in his ear that the prize behind door number two is pretty damn spiffy. After all, Nanne didn't just say the Wild would be suitors. He effectively said that they're planning to make Parise a tantalizingly shocking offer that even he was like whaaaaaat when he heard.
If the goal is to catch Parise's ear and ensure he puts off signing a contract until you can slide yours across the table, this might do it.
- Zach Parise
- Craig Leipold
- Lou Nanne
- Minnesota North Stars