Why People Don’t Want (Not Think) Zach Parise to Stay in New Jersey
Photo courtesy of Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
By: Mike Luciano (@MikeLuci)
Free agency is on the horizon and it’s old news that Devil’s captain and superstar Zach Parise is fronting the 2012 unrestricted free agent class. Although Parise has expressed his desire to remain a New Jersey Devil on countless occasions, it hasn’t stopped waves of rumors and speculation regarding where Parise will play next season. Despite Parise’s publicized desire to remain a New Jersey Devil, the organization’s uncertainty with ownership’s financial situation and members of the hockey world and blogosphere believing Parise is “just saying that” because he truly has desires to depart for greener pastures, have provided the array of hockey analysts and “insiders” with more than enough ammo to keep firing out a different take on Parise’s fate if…or as some are blunt enough to put it, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this coming Sunday.
Photo courtesy of AP / Rich Schultz
What I find rather irksome is the conclusive mentality that surrounds the Zach Parise situation as free agency approaches. Yes with the frenzy just a smidgen over twenty-four hours away, the chances of Zach at least dipping his toes into the open market look better and better with each hour that passes. It’s the scarce acknowledgement and regard that is given on the possibility that Parise can still re-sign with New Jersey that flusters me…rather flustered me until I put Zach’s impending unrestricted free agency and the same situations the big fishes of past free agent classes had into perspective.
I’ve been saying it for some time now and to be straightforward, despite what anybody hears or speculates, the consensus simply does not want Zach Parise re-signing with New Jersey. Upon first glance at that sentence, it seems like it’s derived from the whiny and worrisome venting of a frustrated Devils fan. As much as I, along with countless others of the Devil’s faithful are feverishly anticipating when the clock strikes noon on Sunday, I can present two rational reasons behind my figuring.
It would take the fun out of free agent frenzy…Let’s be real now. One of the biggest parts about free agent frenzy is getting caught up in the excitement. When that clock strikes noon, it becomes a straight up free-for-all as teams frantically scramble to pitch the highest and most presentable offer to the best players out there, or the players they feel best suit their needs. Ideally, the players whose activities that day are placed under a microscope are the ones that possess the most skill, score the most goals, and put up the most points; the superstars. Taking that player or players out of the picture before the frenzy begins is like throwing a huge party that’s supposed to have a pretty notarized guest of honor that calls at the last minute to inform you they’re not showing up.
This year’s free agent class isn’t as diverse as the classes of year’s past and after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, there’s a drop-off in the level of desirability. Once both of those players are off the board, there’s obviously going to be a steep drop-off in excitement as well. Taking Parise out of the picture would assuredly deflate a huge chunk of the excitement that awaits the hockey world on Sunday before it even gets a chance to start. It would get the hopes up of countless hockey fans that specifically anticipate that day just to buy into the excitement, especially fans that think their team has a real shot at landing this year’s most highly coveted unrestricted free agent forward.
He’s a marketable player…In the seven years that Zach Parise has been in the NHL, this is the year he’s received the most exposure being that he’s in a contract year. From what I’ve seen, this appears to be the case for most players that aren’t on one of the selective group of teams used nowadays in the NHL’s marketing front (Rangers, Penguins, Flyers, Bruins, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Canucks). A comparative example would be Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to the trade talk that surfaced as this past season’s trade deadline approached, how often did you hear about him? Can the same case be said for the Islanders’ John Tavares, whose time in the spotlight expired in the wake of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft? You didn’t hear much about Nashville’s marquee defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter until rumors surfaced that their days in Nashville were numbered. Agree, disagree, agree to disagree but It’s my belief you can find instances like this dating back for years.
Unless you’re a Devils fan or just a supporter of superstars sticking with the team that drafted them, the consensus would love to see Parise sign with a team where his skills could gain the recognition he knowingly deserves, even if they don’t admit it. I’d love to see Parise aired on NBC on Sundays. He’d gain that exposure if he wound up signing with a team like the Red Wings, Penguins or Flyers, all of which have been linked to inquiring about his services if his eligibility as an unrestricted free agent exceeds Sunday at noon. To sum it up, Parise is like a hidden gem playing on the Devils, arguably one of the better kept secrets in the NHL. I will admit that the Devils fan base and popularity is astronomically incomparable to the likes of the teams mentioned, which reflects their lack of recognition and marketability on a national basis. If Parise does stay in New Jersey, I can say in confidence his relevancy will quickly revert back to where it was prior to where it stands now.