The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/04/12 at 09:57 PM ET
Sigh. Whether New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise will hit the open market as a free agent this summer is up for debate, but what is not is the fact that the NHL’s press corps is even more excited about the prospect of Parise signing with a team other than the Devils than the teams that would happily line up with Brinks trucks in tow to court Parise’s services already are. The Toronto Sun’s Mike Zeisberger continues to connect supposed dots between Parise and the Red Wings, among other teams, and while I’d love to see him come to Detroit, I’ll also readily admit that other teams would pay him more, with those “other teams” quite possibly, if not probably, including Parise’s current employer, the New Jersey Devils:
The ice isn’t the only place where Zach Parise is being shadowed consistently these days. While the Philadelphia Flyers continue to be frazzled and frustrated in their failed efforts to contain the diminutive, skilled captain of the New Jersey Devils, a pair of Hall of Fame eyes have been glued to Parise’s every spectacular move from way up in a press box.
Those professional peepers belong to Mark Howe, now the Detroit Red Wings director of pro scouting, who told QMI Agency he probably has seen Parise play “about 60, 61 times” over the past two years. And while Parise’s God-given skills make him one of the most talented forwards in the game, it is his will to succeed that impresses Howe the most.
There are those in the Red Wings organization who will remind you that Howe lives in Philadelphia, which makes his attendance at this second-round playoff series a natural fit. Newark is only a one-hour drive from Philly, up the New Jersey turnpike, so it’s a natural fit for Howe to make the hike to the Prudential Center.
Maybe so. But when you connect all the dots, there is too much evidence to suggest the presence of Howe and a number of other scouts at these Devils post-season games is just a coincidence. On Thursday, for example, there were representatives from Tampa Bay and San Jose among the scouting fraternity along with Howe. Keep in mind they weren’t at The Rock to do advanced playoff scouting because, simply put, the Lightning, Sharks and Red Wings aren’t alive in the postseason.
Besides, it is no secret Parise is poised to become the most sought-after commodity in unrestricted free agency come July 1. Reports out of Raleigh, N.C., this week indicated the Carolina Hurricanes would love to have him join Eric Staal up front, while the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and pretty much any other team looking to add an all-star forward are rumoured to be getting their offers ready.
Through it all, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has maintained that Parise isn’t going anywhere this summer. Still, with some observers predicting Devils ownership might file for bankruptcy protection in the off-season, you have to wonder if there will be enough cash in the team vault to lock up the obvious gem of the 2012 UFA class.
Continued with Parise saying that he’s quite happy aiding the Devils’ cause against the Flyers at present.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.