The Carolina Hurricanes are rumored to have interest in New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, but they won’t be the only team.
Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger recently reported the odds were “50-50” Parise would re-sign with the Devils – if the money is there and if he feels he can win a Stanley Cup in New Jersey.
Chere considers the Detroit Red Wings as the Devils’ main competition for Parise and called the New York Rangers “a definite possibility.”
It’s been suggested Parise may also return to his home state by signing with the Minnesota Wild, but Chere considers them a long shot.
Earlier this season, Parise said winning a championship was an important consideration in his contract talks with the Devils, so it’s likely to determine where he goes if he opts for free agency. That would give the Red Wings and Rangers a definite advantage over the Wild.
FINNISH FLASH FLIES ONCE MORE?
Will Anaheim Ducks veteran right winger Teemu Selanne return for one more season?
It was widely believed this season would be the last for Selanne, who’s on pace for 25 goals and 67 points – remarkable numbers for a 41-year-old player.
Selanne hasn’t committed to anything, but in a recent interview with Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register, ‘The Finnish Flash’ said there was more inside him that wanted to play than retire.
Miller confessed to a “gut feeling” Selanne will return.
As in recent years, his decision isn’t expected until July 1, when he’ll once again become an unrestricted free agent.
At this point in his career, it’s safe to assume if he does return, it’ll only be with the Ducks, rather than a sentimental journey back to Winnipeg.
LOYAL TO THE ISLAND
The New York Islanders are facing the end of another disappointing season, but many of their players – especially their pending free agents – believe they’re on the verge of becoming a contender.
That was certainly a factor for Evgeni Nabokov when he came to terms on a new deal with the team. A year ago he refused to report to the Islanders after he was claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings, but signed a one-year, $2.75-million contract (lacking a no-trade clause) to remain on Long Island.
It’s also why since January 2011 centers John Tavares and Frans Nielsen, along with left wingers Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner, re-signed for the long-term.
Two pending UFAs hoping to return are right winger P-A Parenteau and veteran defenseman Steve Staios.
Parenteau, 29, is a smooth playmaker who has flourished alongside Tavares and Moulson, though his backchecking needs improvement. He’s believed to be seeking $4 million per season, but has frequently stated his intent to re-sign.
Staios, 38, hasn’t made any firm decisions on his future plans, but told Newsday if he does decide to play one more season, he’d prefer to return to the Isles.
Outside observers may wonder why these players wish to stick with a franchise that has been a league laughing-stock for years, as well as one that faces an uncertain future on Long Island when the lease on its current arena expires in 2015.
One reason is Tavares, their franchise player, believes they can become a contender. Another is gratitude from players such as Moulson, Grabner and Parenteau, whose NHL careers were going nowhere until the Islanders gave them a chance.
It remains to be seen if their faith will be rewarded, but there’s no denying they’re a tight-knit group with promise.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.