3:21 p.m. — Some interesting developments in the past couple hours.
The Zach Parise sweepstakes are heating up with the Chicago Blackhawks indeed emerging as a serious suitor. In these type of situations a sleeper team almost always seems to emerge and Blackhawks appear to be the team. The Blackhawks, Devils, Wild and the Penguins are said to still be under serious consideration from Parise. Jonathan Toews is having a big impact on Parise’s recruitment and there continues to be chatter that Parise eyes the Western Conference if he leaves the Devils. Things are starting to heat up but a decision might not be made until at least 5 or 6.
1:39 p.m. — An NHL source tells me the Penguins who were kind of waiting on the sidelines yesterday not engaging in serious talks with Ryan Suter after making an initial offer, have intensified their pursuit of Suter in the past two hours. I’m not sure this has elevated Pittsburgh into Suter’s shortlist, but the Penguins are serious about Suter. The Red Wings, Predators, and Wild have been considered to be in the lead in the sweepstakes. The Flyers who have made a massive offer have not been ruled out yet either.
1:36 p.m. — Surprise team in the mix? Jeese Rodgers of ESPNChicago reports that the Blackhawks appear to have a serious shot at Parise. “The Hawks DO have a shot at Parise…could be down to just them and NJ..should know within couple hours, ” Rodgers writes. There had been little to no talk of the Blackhawks yesterday but in these type of sweepstakes, a sleeper almost always emerges.
1:05 p.m. — Ryan Suter’s agent Neil Sheehy is in the process of informing teams who are no longer being considered. As of 1:00 p.m., Pittsburgh hasn’t been informed that they are out…..
12:10 p.m. – Word out of Zach Parise’s camp is that a decision might be at least a couple more hours away and likely not until late afternoon. Parise and his reps at Newport Sports are meeting into the afternoon to begin the process of eliminating teams and indications again are that the sweepstakes are down to the Wild, Penguins, and Devils and a source involved in the negotiations emphatically denied that the Devils out of the mix, calling it the “farthest from the truth” when asked about chatter emerging among some writers that Parise is down to the Penguins and Wild. New Jersey is fully expected to be apart of the the final two teams in the mix when a final decision is made. It’s not clear if a sleeper team is emerging.
10:26 a.m. – It is decision day for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter as both players are expected to make decision by the end of the day. In regards to Suter, contrary to a report out there, the Penguins do in fact still have an offer on the table to Suter and as of 9:30 a.m., they haven’t been informed that they are eliminated from the mix. However, there also hasn’t been serious talks between the two sides and barring a surprising development, the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators are believed to have emerged as the top three contenders for Suter.
All eyes for the Penguins will be on Zach Parise as the Penguins, Wild, Devils, Flyers and Red Wings emerged on his shortlist of teams Sunday with the belief around the league this morning is that it’s really down to the Wild to Penguins or Devils. Multiple NHL sources said last night that a decision was likely to come down to Minnesota or Pittsburgh.
BREAKING DOWN THE TOP CONTENDERS IN PARISE SWEEPSTAKES
MINNESOTA WILD — The Wild have made a great pitch to Parise, offering big time money believed to be close or excess of $100 million, giving Parise the opportunity to return home and be the focal point of the franchise for the rest of his career. What could also entice Parise here is the possibility of close friend Ryan Suter also coming to Minnesota as the Wild have emerged as a top contender for him and the sense is Parise will pick his team first this afternoon and if he picks Minnesota, Suter will also be coming to Minnesota. If Parise signs elsewhere, many believe Suter is a lock to go to Detroit as Minnesota appears to be emerging as the only place the two are going to be signed as a combo package. The biggest obstacle for the Wild is whether Parise believes they are on the cusp of emerging as a contender and having the stability to be a top contender for years to come. NHL sources in the know believed this morning that IF Parise is sold on Minnesota becoming a consistent contender, they are in the lead. That could be a big IF though.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS — The Penguins have made an aggressive sales pitch for Zach Parise and their best weapon is Sidney Crosby who is close to the Parise family. The allure of playing with Sidney Crosby for the rest of career and joining a young core of franchise players in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and being a perennial Cup Contender has serious perks for a player like Parise who wants to win. To no surprise the Penguins have emerged as a top contender. The biggest obstacle in the end could be the Penguins being in the same division as Parise as the 27 year old is said to have so much respect for the Devils organization that rumblings around the league for a few days have been out there that if he bolts New Jersey it would be for the Western Conference.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS — Despite their financial struggles and struggles to possibly stay competitive because of their financial woes, Parise has a huge amount of respect for GM Lou Lamoriello and anÂ attachment to New Jersey which is keeping them in the mix to the end. Parise is a class act and people have told me it’s going to kill him inside to make that call to Lamoriello that he’s signing elsewhere. In regards to Marty Brodeur resigning for two years with New Jersey, I don’t see it having much of an impact on Parise’sÂ decision. If he was 30 years old not 40, I would have a different feel.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS — The Flyers have made a major pitch for Parise offering a 13 year deal in excess of $100+ million and they appear to have done an effective sales pitch to emerge as one of the top-5 suitors for Parise. The Flyers like the Penguins are built to sustain success with a great young group upfront and the opportunity is there to play with one of the best players in the game in Claude Giroux. One advantage over Pittsburgh is that Giroux is a right handed shot which would give Parise a more suited role on the power play as in Pittsburgh they are loaded with left handed shots in Crosby, Malkin and James Neal. The biggest downfall for Philadelphia’s chances is that they are a hated rival of the Devils and the media scrutiny will be much more intense than in Pittsburgh where he could take more of a backseat.
DETROIT RED WINGS — Out of the top-5, the Red Wings are believed to be the biggest longshots to land Parise and the Red Wings brass is said to not be confident of landing Parise. They offer the opportunity to play for a great organization, great coach in Mike Babcock and with great centers inÂ Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but both players are in the their 30’s and will be entering the downside of their careers soon, compared to in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia where the franchise players in place are in their are still in their early 20’s. The Red Wings are a team on the downside and Parise also has no ties to Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Detroit is one of the worst cities to live in.
*The Five Teams on Parise’s Shortlist according to multiple reports on Sunday*