With their 3-1 win on Wednesday, the Devils guaranteed that Zach Parise will play at least one more game in New Jersey when the Devils try to stave off elimination again in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday.
But keeping Parise in New Jersey beyond this series won't be easy. He's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, and despite a quiet series so far with no points in the first four games, Parise is by far the top forward available in a lean market for scorers. He's still just 27 and already has 194-216-410 totals in 502 career games, including a 31-38-69 line this past season and 14 more points in 22 playoff contests.
The Devils won't let him go without putting up a fight, and they have some advantages in the looming bidding war. Parise knows the system, is comfortable with the team and this year's run to the Final has proven they are a legitimate contender.
But has this spring's playoff success been enough to convince him to take a hometown discount to stay? It will likely take a pretty significant discount too, as the Devils are mired in quite a financial mess. They've already made a huge commitment to Ilya Kovalchuk, and just two years into that 15-year, $100 million monstrosity of a contract, can they really afford another huge long-term deal?
Remaining in New Jersey can't be ruled out, but with the Devils so hard-pressed to make a competitive offer and so many suitors lining up to make their pitches on July 1, we've decided to handicap the coming bidding war with a look at the top 10 potential destinations for Parise if he tests the free agent market this summer.
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