May 10, 2012, 11:43 AM EDT
It wasn’t the most emphatic statement on earth, but Devils fans will take it.
In speaking with ESPN’s Craig Custance (paywall), Wade Arnott — the player agent representing New Jersey captain Zach Parise — wouldn’t tip his hand as to the future of his client, but did admit this surprising playoff run could help Parise stay with the Devils.
His team has advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals where they have proven they have as good a chance as anybody of playing for a Stanley Cup. Had they lost in the first round, most of us would have penciled Parise in for a guaranteed trip to free agency. Does this playoff success change things?
I posed that question to his agent, Newport’s Wade Arnott, and even he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Does the fact that they’re showing well and taking a longer run and becoming more competitive, is it the right fit? I don’t know the answer to that.”
But it’s got to help the cause, right?
“It probably bodes decently for the Devils,” Arnott said.
Of course, New Jersey’s playoff success is a double-edged sword.
The further the Devils go along, the higher Parise’s stock rises. All the characteristics that have made New Jersey so compelling this postseason — unwavering discipline, relentless forecheck, strong boardwork, timely scoring — are embodied by Parise, the 27-year-old captain.
And make no mistake, 27 years old is the key here. Parise was the big fish of the impending UFA market prior to this run, a franchise player on the right side of 30. Now he’s added the one thing missing from his resume — playoff success.
(For as good as he’s been since the lockout, Parise’s never played more than 11 games in a single postseason.)
You’d think that regardless of what the Devils do from here on in, Parise is going to market if only to see what kind of numbers get thrown his way.
It will truly be a once-in-a-career opportunity.
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