What We Learned: Get ready for a year of Zach Parise rumors

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Let us all hope against hope that Zach Parise and the New Jersey Devils come to an agreement on a deal that would make Ilya Kovalchuk and Alex Ovechkin blush.

And let's hope they do it very, very soon.

Zach Parise signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this weekend to stay in New Jersey. It was a case of another team and player avoiding the acrimonious and unhoped-for arbitration process, seemingly agreeing to work toward a longer-term deal in the meantime.

And what a bargain for New Jersey. The fact is Parise is among the two or three best two-way players in the NHL when healthy. The two seasons before he was injured and missed all but 13 games, he averaged more than 40 goals and well over a point a game, despite facing the toughest competition his opponents had to offer every single night. He's the only player in Devils history to record four consecutive 30-goal seasons and still remained fully cognizant of the defensive zone, as any stereotypical ultra-defensive New Jersey forward would.

In short, he's a dazzling and near-Datsyukian mix of offense and defense, exactly the kind of player everyone in the league should look to build their entire franchise around.

Remember all the talk about Stamkos-and-Richards-to-the-whoever talk of just a few weeks ago? Every website ran what-if offer sheet scenarios for Tampa's goalscoring machine and so hot was the pursuit of Richards that TSN dispatched a reporter outside a suburban office building like he was sending messages back from some ultra-courteous warfront. And with good reason: both are excellent players for what they do.

It's going to get a whole lot worse if Parise and New Jersey don't come to some sort of agreement before the season. If we're terribly unfortunate, and the Devils don't look to be in the playoff hunt, the trade deadline.

The entire TSN deadline show would become a theater production devoted to Parise's eventual landing spot, regardless of how clear it was that the player would eventually sign with the only NHL team he has ever known. The absurd amount of cap space the Devils will have next summer, and Parise's fairly plain desire to stay with the franchise, will be considered not at all.

Parise would become Stamkos if he was an unrestricted free agent and played as well in his own zone as he does at the top of the circle. He'll be Richards if he was three years younger, defensively responsible and capable of scoring 45 goals with Jamie Langenbrunner on his line. The parade of suitors through the doors of his agent's office will grow as long as the salary cap and teams' ability to pay him the king's ransom he will surely command allow it to be.

And every breath from every hockey pundit and fan on the planet will be those of people daring to dream that Parise will come to their city to play for their team from October until July 1.

But as we saw this summer, just because teams put together pie-in-the-sky offers for a highly sought-after free agent and do whatever they can to bend the knee before him doesn't mean they'll land anywhere other than where we always thought. The Devils will likely have to do a lot of work to prevent Parise from keeping them at the top of his list.

If they do sign him before Parise gets the chance to test the market, though, fans won't have to worry too much. You can probably already feel the army of people with Shea Weber rumors massing just over the horizon.

What We Learned

Anaheim Ducks: If Bobby Ryan weren't a hockey player, he would be a wine maker. Sounds more like a job for Sid Crosby hahahaha oh jeez.

Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara's meeting with the Montreal PD "went well" and there should be a resolution in the whole Max Pacioretty case soon. That is to say, he probably posed dutifully for pictures and then the police said, "Oh yeah of course that wasn't a crime bye Zdeno thanks for the signed pucks."

Buffalo Sabres: Here it is, the closest to a Stanley Cup the Sabres are going to get in the next few years. The sculptor has been signed to a 10-year, cap-circumventing deal.

Calgary Flames: The Flames have several draft picks that are as yet unsigned. The reason for this, more often than not, is that they are like most of Calgary's other prospects: not that good.

Carolina Hurricanes: Canes owner Peter Karmanos is partly to blame for all these American college commits jumping to major junior. Thanks for nothing.

Chicago Blackhawks: Eau Claire, Wisconsin is becoming a hockey hotbed thanks to the performances of guys like Jake Dowell and early 1990s ECHLer Andy Akervik. Stick to having a really great folk rock scene, be proud that you produced Bon Iver. But don't hang your hat on Jake Dowell.

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog and Duncan Siemens are now signed by the Avs. Can either one play goal?

Columbus Blue Jackets: Some of the Blue Jackets were on the scene for a taping of Extreme Makeover. Somehow, the episode wasn't about the team's top power play unit.

Dallas Stars: Despite the Stars being a not-very-good hockey team, ratings went up 13 percent this past year. This will likely not be the case when they finish 12th in the West next season.

Detroit Red Wings: Mike Modano says the Red Wings' jet makes travel difficult because sometimes you'd have to stop and refuel on the way somewhere else. On your private jet. Tough life. Try flying commercial.

Edmonton Oilers: Nikolai Khabibulin reported to jail on Saturday and jeez he's got it tough. Doesn't have to wear the prison uniform. Doesn't have to be there between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Only has to be there for 15 days. But I bet any ol' regular Joe who got busted doing 70 in a 45 with a blood-alcohol level of twice the legal limit gets that treatment.

Florida Panthers: Steven Weiss and a bunch of other NHLers will be participating in a charity hockey game on Aug. 18 in Stouffville, Ontario, so go check that out if you're in the area. Proceeds benefit the local hospital.

Los Angeles Kings: Dean Lombardi thinks Drew Doughty will get signed at some point. But not now, though team and player are working on it. "This isn't a standoff like we've been seeing in Washington," Lombardi said. Yeah but maybe Doughty will hire John Boehner as his new agent. Might be able to wring at least $1 trillion outta the team. SuperCongress and all that.

Minnesota Wild: Speaking of Doughty, ESPN was apparently pushing the idea of a Wild offer sheet for him. Chance that will happen, ever: negative 50 percent.

Montreal Canadiens: "Yannick Weber should make the Montreal Canadiens." Well no kidding. He played 41 games for them last year and then they lost some guys and didn't really sign anyone.

Nashville Predators: Jonathon Blum and new Preds sixth-round pick Chase Balisy grew up on the same street in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. That's one hell of an odd coincidence.  Rancho Santa Margarita ain't exactly in the running for Kraft Hockeyville.

New Jersey Devils: Hey so who's gonna be the Devils' captain? Guess what it's Zach Parise.

New York Islanders: If you're living in Nassau County and you don't go vote for the new arena plan today, well, I hope you like rooting for the Quebec City Islanders.

New York Rangers: Hey is Mike Del Zotto gonna make the team this year? Yes. No further questions.

Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson is on Twitter now and he might not want to write about any terrorist leaders or something. Twitter is dangerous.

Philadelphia Flyers: Jaromir Jagr is now training for the upcoming season, because lazy backchecking isn't something you can just turn on once October rolls around.

Phoenix Coyotes: Here's something most people may not have thought of yet: Prepare for a million Shane Doan trade proposals come February. No way they get him re-signed without an owner, right?

Pittsburgh Penguins: Alex Kovalev won't be back with the Penguins or any other NHL team, as he's jumping to the KHL. But hey, maybe the Islanders can make a run at him in three years.

San Jose Sharks: Popular television thing Shark Week began last night, and the Worcester Sharks celebrated by holding a free public skate. Of course, if it was San Jose Shark Week, it would end on Thursday. *wild applause*

St. Louis Blues: Mike Danton playing professional hockey is happening again. He's playing in Sweden and this is probably the last you'll ever hear about his pro career.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Work has begun in earnest for renovating the St. Pete Times Forum. They pulled out 574 seats to install a pipe organ and bar. Which is awesome.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Kevyn Adams used to play for the Maple Leafs and when he did, he wore No. 42. The reason he did it was because he's a huge fan of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What a great dude!

Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks are among three founding members of the Green Sports Alliance, which invited hundreds of executives from teams in all major North American pro leagues to Portland, Oregon, this weekend. The topic for discussion was how to make pro sports environmentally friendly. The NHL is already way out in front of that though, due to it being the coolest league.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin is on a Canadian candy bar called the Big Deal, which is apparently not a reference to the size of his gut.

Winnipeg Jets: Nik Zherdev would totally play for the Jets. So they should sign him. Because he's really good.

Gold Star Award

Congrats to Mike Mottau, who got hit in the eye with a puck in November and missed the entire rest of the season, but is now working on being back for next year. Some of the details on it in this article are horrifying.

Minus of the Weekend

Mark Recchi is such a jerk. Because of the various bonuses written into his contract, the Bruins will have a cap penalty of $1.13 million next season. Real team guy. Sure.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

User "Davalicious" doesn't get the Red Wings mystique:

To Detroit:

Roberto Luongo
1st Round Pick

To Vancouver:
Johan Franzen
Brad Stuart
1st Round Pick 2012


My son is also named Bort.

Ryan Lambert publishes hockey awesomeness rather infrequently over at The Two-Line Pass. Check it out, why don't you? Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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