May 25, 2012, 9:40 AM EST
Could the NHL have their own version of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade on their hands? Minus, James’ TV Special, The Decision.
Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are by far the two best players with the potential to become unrestricted free agents this summer – not including Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom, who are assumed to be limiting themselves to re-signing with their current squad or retiring.
Getting either Parise or Suter would be a huge boost to any club, but the popular rumor out there is that the two want to play together next season.
Given how much money either one of them would command on the free agent market, that significantly limits their possibilities. For example, the New Jersey Devils want to keep Parise and would, in an ideal world, love to add Suter too. However, doing so would significantly muddy their cap situation – especially if the new CBA ends up reducing the salary cap. Similarly, other interested parties like the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers would have a tough time finding room for both of them under the cap without getting very creative.
One team that seems to have the right combination of desire, reputation, and cap space is the Detroit Red Wings.
“Lots of us were at an event last year, and they were taking quite a bit of ribbing about it,” said one hockey official to the Detroit News. The person asked to remain anonymous.
“I recall specifically someone walking up to them in the parking lot and saying, ‘Hey, I hear you guys are both with the Red Wings next year!’
“They were pretty sheepish about it. You know, smiling, but not saying much at all.”
Of course, all this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. There’s a chance that both players could end up re-signing with their respective clubs. Parise in particular is an interesting situation because his team might end up winning the Stanley Cup. Additionally, even if they do both make it to the free agent market, they might not end up with the same team. Still, it’s an interesting scenario and both players have a lot of control over their futures.
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