Zach Parise and the New Jersey Devils continue to talk in the hopes a long-term deal can get done. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils may have recently avoided arbitration with left winger Zach Parise, but don't expect that to keep his name out of the trade rumor mill.
Ryan Lambert of Yahoo! Sports expressed hope Parise and the Devils can agree to a new, long-term extension before the start of next season, as the longer Parise goes unsigned, the more he'll be rumored as a possible trade candidate throughout 2011-12.
Lambert noted the Devils will have “an absurd amount of cap space” next summer (according to capgeek.com they have $38.45 million invested in 12 players) and Parise has a “fairly plain desire” to remain with the team, but that won't be enough to silence the rumor-mongers.
Both sides amicably agreed on a one-year extension and stated their intent to continue working on a long-term deal, but a couple of factors could ultimately determine the direction those negotiations take once the season begins.
Parise's performance will obviously be taken into account. He's coming off serious knee surgery and it remains to be seen what impact that will have on his game.
Another factor will be the Devils’ performance. If they're out of the playoff picture by February, it'll only ramp up speculation of a trade deadline move involving Parise.
Should the deadline pass and Parise remains a Devil, trade speculation will increase in June if he's still unsigned following the playoffs, as the free agency period will be fast approaching by that point.
GM Lou Lamoriello freed up an additional $3.3 million in salary cap space for next season, buying out the contracts of long-time Devils defenseman Colin White and recently-acquired right winger Trent Hunter.
The extra space, however, won't have any impact on continued contract talks with Parise, as he's already signed for this coming season.
Lamoriello will instead use the roughly $5.8 million in available cap room to further bolster the roster.
Defenseman Scott Hannan, who played with the Capitals last season, remains an unsigned UFA, though his agent, Don Meehan, told the Washington Times he's working on getting a new contract. Meehan rejected the possibility of Hannan returning to the Capitals next season.
The San Jose Sharks were rumored to be a destination, but their recent signing of Colin White, who plays a similar style to Hannan, likely rules that out.
If the Calgary Flames are seeking a replacement for Robyn Regehr, who was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in June, Hannan might be a fit there. Given the Flames’ limited cap space (roughly $1.3 million), Hannan, who made $4.5 million this past season, would have to accept a considerable pay cut, however.
Other possible destinations include the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders. Both clubs still need to get above the salary cap floor for next season and would benefit from Hannan's experience and leadership.
A year ago the Detroit Red Wings were looking forward to Jiri Hudler's return from the Kontinental League, where he spent the 2009-10 season because of a contract dispute.
Hudler was expected to exceed the 23-goal, 57-point performance of his previous NHL season, but he instead struggled throughout 2010-11, managing only 37 points in 82 regular season games and three points in 10 post-season contests.
He will face heightened expectations this coming season to regain his scoring touch. But as recently noted in the Detroit Free Press, the Wings could explore trade options if he fails to prove himself as a reliable top-six forward.
Hudler is also in the final year of his current contract and is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2012, which should provide additional motivation to step up his game.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.
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