Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Zach's Not Back ... but He's Still on Radar

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Zach's Not Back ... but He's Still on Radar

Article excerpt

The Devils' front office continued to be ominously silent after captain Zach Parise and goaltender Martin Brodeur hit the unrestricted free-agent market at noon Sunday.

Although both players remain unsigned, the dark cloud of their possible departure hung over the organization, which made no moves on the opening day of free agency. Parise plans to make his decision today after taking the night to consider the host of offers he received.

Brodeur reportedly was mulling a two-year offer from the Devils on Sunday night.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello did not return telephone messages for the third consecutive day.

A source said Lamoriello made "a very competitive offer" to Parise. The question was how much the Devils would have left in their budget - which is impacted by the team's financial uncertainty - to re-sign other players they would like to keep, including Brodeur and defenseman Bryce Salvador. Managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek is still in the process of finalizing the refinancing of the team's $77 million debt and trying to bring in additional partners.

Parise already has trimmed the field of suitors and agent Wade Arnott confirmed via email that "the Devils are still in consideration."

"Zach will likely have a decision [today]," Arnott said. "He has narrowed the list of teams to a small select group."

Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Detroit and Philadelphia also are believed to be on Parise's short list, but he wouldn't discuss that Sunday.

"I'm not at liberty to say right now who's in, anything like that," Parise told reporters outside Arnott's office in Mississauga, Ontario, where he spent the day fielding offers. "But just because it got to noon [Sunday], by no means does that say the Devils aren't one of my top teams.''

Lamoriello flew to Toronto to meet face to face with Parise on Saturday night in Toronto, but it wasn't enough to convince the 27- year-old left wing from fielding offers from other teams. Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Detroit and Carolina all made offers to Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter - the top two UFAs available. Parise and Suter are friends and have played together on various national teams for the U. …

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