Zach Parise hit the unrestricted free agent market on Sunday morning, as the New Jersey Devils captain heard GM Lou Lamoriello's pitch earlier in the weekend and was ready to accept suitors at his agents' offices in Ontario.
So what's the price for signing Parise? As expected, a bank vault of money up front.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reports that Parise will seek a $12 million bonus upon signing his deal and then another $12 million due next July 1.
That money counts against the cap, which means the 27-year-old will likely make a significant smaller base salary at the end of his deal to balance out the cap hit. (Signing bonuses would be protected from a potential salary rollback in the next CBA.)
Parise made $6 million last season with the Devils. It's expected that Parise's deal will eclipse that of center Brad Richards last season, who make $12 million in each of his first two seasons and $60 million over nine years with the New York Rangers. But it's also expected it'll be structured in the same way; Richards had three years of $1 million of base salary at the end of his deal.
It's expected Parise's term will be more than nine years; Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review anticipated a 10-year offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins with a ceiling of $80 million. The Detroit News wrote that Parise was looking for a minimum of a "10-year deal worth $80 million dollars."
Among the teams pitching Parise today: The Red Wings and, according to Darren Dreger, the Winnipeg Jets. The Penguins, the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings, the Ottawa Senators and, of course, the Devils are also in the running for Parise.
Bottom line: Parise is an incredible asset for a contending team — a tenacious player and ferocious leader whose intangibles make him one of the League's most coveted talents. But he's going to sign a contract that his stats will never, ever justify, outside of the statistical Viagra of playing on Sidney Crosby's wing.
Parise's a special player; his contract could easily infect him with Chris Drury Disease.