The Chicago Blackhawks are looking for an impact player in their top-six forwards. They really could use an aggressive, hard-skating forward to get to the net and lead the forecheck. If that player could score and could keep up with the other 'Hawks forwards, so much the better.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Zach Parise?
Is the thought of obtaining an elite skater in the prime of his career too much to dream?
Sorry to burst that bubble, but to me it seems pretty unlikely that the planets align to the point where we see Parise in the Indian head sweater.
Parise has a run of five 30-goal seasons interrupted only by the abbreviated 2010-11 campaign due to a knee injury. He put up 31 goals to go with 38 assists this past season. He's a talented scorer, a top-shelf skater and a leader who can score the big goals.
I just think that there are too many things that would have to happen in order for Parise to wind up in Chicago.
First of all, New Jersey would have to conclude that they can't sign their current captain. Parise is an unrestricted free agent as of July 1. If the Devils can't afford to bring him back, it appears that they will attempt to trade his rights before that date.
Forget whether or not the 'Hawks would pony up to snag Parise for the big bucks or not. If New Jersey puts his negotiating rights out there for sale, someone is going to have to offer Devils GM Lou Lamoriello the right deal.
Does that sound like Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to you?
This wouldn't be like offering a conditional pick to win the right to negotiate with Steve Montador, which Bowman did this last summer. To get a crack at Parise, he'd have to dip into his precious pool of prospects and draft picks.
Whether Bowman gains an early edge on the field or Parise hits the open market on July 1, Chicago would still have to meet his asking price. With a projected raise in the salary cap, it could be done.
However, there is no guarantee that the cap will go up enough for the 'Hawks to become a serious bidder.
It also must be mentioned that Bowman would likely have to give out long-term money to a player who could very well fall apart over the course of such a deal. Parise has been remarkably durable in much of his seven NHL seasons. Aside from last season, he has missed just three games.
Of course, that right knee could prove to be an issue down the line. At 5'11" and 195 pounds, Parise is likely going to feel the effects of physical play later in his career. Will Bowman be as quick to pull the trigger on a big contract with that in mind?
Parise is a great player and would be a great addition to the 'Hawks. I would be happy to see him come to the Windy City.
However, I'm not betting the farm on this happening.
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