As you probably know, Zach Parise is one of the most desirable free agents set to hit the market this summer. Aside from Ryan Suter of Nashville, Parise is in a class of his own when it comes to talent that's about to test the waters of the open market. Given the slim pickings we can all safely imagine that plenty of teams will be interested in Parise's services.
A recent report stated that the Carolina Hurricanes are ready to make Parise their number one target over the summer. Would the Hurricanes be able to land Parise and perhaps more importantly, would Parise have any interest in signing with Carolina?
Keep in mind that these reports are just that - reports. They are mostly based on discussion and speculation. However, it's safe to say that a huge group of teams are going to approach Parise and one that fits into that list is Carolina.
Why does Carolina make sense? Consult the following.
They've got money to spend.
In 2010-11 the Hurricanes were roughly $13.7 million beneath the salary cap. In 2012-13 they are projected to be roughly $20 million beneath the cap. Clearly, there is lots of wiggle room for the Hurricanes. To top it off the Hurricanes only have four current players on the roster set to become free agents - McBain, Welsh, Spacek and Allen. This means the club could safely address their own free agents and still have plenty of money and cap space left over to pursue any number of free agents, including Parise.
Parise made $6,000,000 in 2011-12 and had the same cap hit for the New Jersey Devils. Even with a modest raise it would appear he would still be a financial possibility for the Hurricanes.
They need help for Eric Staal.
The same report that states the team's interest in Parise mentions the fact the club is aware that Eric Staal could use a quality winger to play with. Parise fits the bill of "quality winger" extremely well. Parise had 31 goals and 38 assists in 82 games for the Devils this season. Staal scored 24 goals while adding 46 goals in 82 games.
The numbers may appear to be pretty solid from Staal but in reality his 70 points are below what fans and management believe he is capable of. If you look back through Staal's career you'll see he scored 100 points in 2005-06 and 82 in 2007-08. Management believes they can return him to these higher marks if they were to get up some help on the top line.
Major players are already in place.
The Hurricanes have a few decisions to make in free agency but have far fewer to make compared to other clubs. They also benefit from the fact that their best players, Staal, Skinner and Ward to name a few, are already locked up for next season and in some cases (Staal, Ward) are locked up to lengthy deals. Staal is signed through 2015-16. Ward is signed through 2015-16. Skinner's deal expires at the end of the 2012-13 season but the other big pieces in Carolina already are in the picture long-term.
History of big contracts in Carolina.
The Hurricanes aren't timid to give a player a big contract. Look no further than Staal's 7-year, $57.5 million deal and Ward's 6-year, $37.8 million deal. As you can see, the Hurricanes aren't shy about handing out multi-year deals with big money behind it.
Does Parise want to go to Carolina?
Typically, a player hitting free agency will entertain the highest offer with the most years. Sure, there are exceptions with players taking less money to play for a team they want, but the majority walk where the money is. As things stand right now, Parise is still battling for a Stanley Cup with his current team. Realistically, he probably won't be able to consider his future until after his team has either won the Cup or has adjourned for the summer. It's unclear whether or not Parise would consider playing for Carolina but we imagine that he is open to the possibility - if the price is right.
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