The odd thing about Zach Parise(notes) and the New Jersey Devils agreeing to a 1-year deal worth $6 million late Friday afternoon is that the two sides could've continued talking through the weekend and on Monday leading up to the scheduled arbitration hearing on Tuesday.
But strange things happens when you're dealing with Lou Lamoriello and sipping from his Kool-Aid.
According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, both Lamoriello and the Parise camp will continue to discuss a longer-term deal, but per CBA rules, he cannot sign a new deal beginning in the 2012-13 season until Jan. 1, 2012.
Lamoriello talked to Gulitti about settling on a deal today as opposed to taking it to arbitration.
"Once you go to arbitration, you can only get a one-year situation in this case," Lamoriello said. "So, really what we have done is avoid arbitration by settling on one year with the understanding and intent to take whatever time is necessary to get a long-term deal."
Taking the deal now means there was some work towards a long-term contract, but the two sides weren't close enough to come to a compromise by Tuesday. Parise will become an unrestricted free agent if not signed by July 1, 2012.
Swapping Brian Rolston(notes) with Trent Hunter(notes) on Thursday and freeing up an extra $3 million in cap room was a big hint that something was likely brewing here. The 1-year deal also helps the Devils' cap situation in the short-term. After the Rolston deal and now Parise's $6 million contract for next season, New Jersey has just over $25 million in cap space for the 2012-13 season according to CapGeek.
With Martin Brodeur's(notes) contract ending next summer and future plans up in the air, Lamoriello's taking a gamble here with the possibility of Parise hitting the UFA market next July 1, but given the fact that this 1-year deal was worked out early, there looks like hope both sides are willing to make something long-term work out in the end.