After signing a one-year extension, Zach Parise is scheduled to become a UFA next summer. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise has been a subject of trade gossip since he and the Devils avoided arbitration last summer by agreeing to a one-year contract extension.
Despite Parise's frequent insistence he'd prefer to stay with New Jersey, rumor bloggers continue dreaming up February trade deadline scenarios, while some pundits wonder if the Devils can afford him.
Rich Chere of NJ.com wrote a recent report noting Parise's desire to play for a Stanley Cup winner and noted Chere’s belief the Devils captain will test next summer's UFA market. All this will only stoke the speculation.
Parise and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello last summer stated the one-year contract extension would provide more time to work out a long-term deal. Naming him team captain was also done in part to convince him to stay.
The continuing uncertainty over the team’s ownership situation will also raise questions over Lamoriello's ability to keep Parise, who will command around $8 million per season on the open market.
Barring a mid-season collapse that knocks the Devils out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline, don't expect Parise to be shopped this season. Even if he's unsigned by late-February, Lamoriello will probably keep him in hopes of re-signing him before July 1.
HURRICANES TALKING TRADE
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reported “there's talk” of a deal in which the Columbus Blue Jackets ship left winger Antoine Vermette to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Bryan Allen.
Matheson also claimed the Hurricanes were “showcasing” defenseman Tomas Kaberle, but his poor performance and $4.25 million per season salary isn't attracting any takers.
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is believed to be seeking more offensive depth at forward, but Vermette, who's not exactly renowned for his offensive prowess, won’t be the answer. His $3.75 million per season contract, which runs through 2014-15, will also make the budget-conscious Rutherford balk.
Kaberle's stock has tumbled big time since last February, when the Toronto Maple Leafs shipped him to the Boston Bruins for Joe Colbourne, a first round pick in 2011 and a conditional second-rounder in 2012.
His middling performance during his short tenure with the Bruins, combined with his listless effort so far with the Hurricanes and expensive contract, should ensure he remains in Carolina for the remainder of this season.
TURRIS SIGNS, BUT RUMORS PERSIST
Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Turris ended his contract holdout on Tuesday, agreeing to a two-year, $2.8 million deal.
Turris, 22, will receive $1.2 million pro-rated for this season and $1.6 million for 2012-13, with the average annual salary worth $1.4 million per season against the Coyotes cap.
With the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign or become ineligible to play this season fast approaching, and Coyotes GM Don Maloney refusing to trade him, Turris had no choice but to sign.
Maloney was pleased to have kept the youngster, adding Turris will “make us a better team.”
That doesn't mean Turris’ name has popped up in the rumor mill for the last time, as there's already speculation the Coyotes will shop him later in the season.
CHANGES AFOOT ON LONG ISLAND
Things could get interesting for the New York Islanders in the near future.
New York Times hockey columnist Chris Botta cited a source claiming GM Garth Snow had “full authority” to make whatever changes - coaching or roster - he deems necessary to save the season.
Newsday's Arthur Staple reported Snow said, “I have no intention to replace our coach,” but Botta was quick to point out the Isles GM said the same thing about former coach Scott Gordon last season, then fired him three games later.
If Snow opts to go the trade route, disappointing left wingers Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo could be shopped. Both have been healthy scratches of late and would benefit from a change of scenery.
Rumor Focus appears Tuesdays and Thursdays 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.