Jul 4, 2012, 1:39 PM EDT
In what was a gut punch day for a number of NHL clubs, none may have been hit harder than the New Jersey Devils. (OK, maybe the Predators.)
With Zach Parise bolting Newark for Minnesota — thanks in no small part to a 13-year, $98 million contract — the Devils are now without their captain and three-time leading scorer.
New Jersey was the only team Parise had known since breaking into the NHL after the lockout. Taken 17th overall by the Devils in 2003, Parise played over 500 regular-season contests and led the club to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in nine years.
So…what happens now? Here are some things to consider.
— The Devils will need a new captain. Ilya Kovalchuk is one of New Jersey’s alternates and formerly wore the “C” in Atlanta. Patrik Elias, another alternate, is the franchise’s all-time leader in points and goals and served as captain from 2006-07. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson could also be in the mix.
— Parise’s a big loss, no doubt, but New Jersey has survived a number of big free agency losses since the lockout. Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Brian Rafalski (Detroit), Scott Gomez (New York Rangers) and Brian Gionta (Montreal) all flew the coop and, like Parise, Niedermayer was New Jersey’s captain before signing with his new team.
— It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, GM Lou Lamoriello responds. Regardless, it won’t be easy. Parise had five 30-goal seasons with the Devils, including a career-best 45 in 2008-09. And New Jersey wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut last year, finishing 15th in goals per game (2.63).
— Speaking of spending, the Devils currently have 20 players under contract for 2012-13 and are $16 million under the cap.
— Also speaking of spending, there’s the matter of the team’s finances. It’s not known whether they came close to offering what the Wild offered or if Lamoriello just backed up the guilt truck.
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 6 1
- As Bolts deal with illness, extra day of rest could prove beneficial 6
- Sounds like it’s Rundblad, not TVR, in for Chicago on defense 15
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ 38
- Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach 16
- Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7 6
- Lightning get taken to ‘school of hard knocks’ in third-period collapse 11
- A storm brewing: Rangers rally to force Game 7 with Lightning (Video) 11
- Video: Lundqvist stones Stamkos with left-pad save 0
- Bob Clarke really doesn’t care for tanking 38
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (75)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL (53)
- Babcock wants to ‘put Canada’s team back on the map’ (49)