Breaking News: The New Jersey Devils are in trouble. Because of Ilya Kovalchuk's new deal, the Devils are approximately $3M over the cap. As I did earlier this offseason, it's again time for me to put on my GM cap on and go wheeling and dealing. Yes-I'm targeting Zach Parise. He's an American and more than that he's a heck of a player. So why would Lou Lamoriello be willing to move him? Let me count the ways:
Of course because Parise is a RFA entering the 2011-2012 season Lamoriello could trade other players and then not match an offer for Parise and get the draft picks back that way plus clear cap space at the same time. That being said, many of his other high priced players have too many years at too many dollars left on their contracts and would be more difficult to move. Moreover, several have no movement or no trade clauses.
Ok so what would it take for Parise to don blue and gold? Here's my proposal (make it happen Darcy!): Trade 2011-2012 1st rounder, 2011-2012 3rd rounder, 2012-2013 2nd rounder, 2014-2015 1st rounder, RW Corey Tropp, LW Jacob Lagace, and D T.J. Brennan to New Jersey for LW Zach Parise and 2013-2014 4th rounder. Why this trade works: Aside from the things noted above, New Jersey gets three quality players who are close to contributing at the NHL level. They also recoup the two picks they lost after being penalized by Bettman. As for the Sabres, their net draft pick loss is only "three". With Tim Connolly's, Mike Grier's, and Rob Niedermayer's salaries coming off the books next year the Sabres could sign Parise to a long term deal in the range of $7M (or less) per year (based on the combined cap hits for those three players this year). Why this trade won't work: Do the Devils really want to trade away a player that could help them contend for the Atlantic Division if not the Eastern Conference or Stanley Cup? Is Tom Golisano willing to pony up the $3.125 million for this year, especially in light of the public perception surrounding Tim Kennedy's contract situation? Will Darcy really deal two 1st rounders AND three prospects?
There is one more reason that the Sabres MUST do this deal (if it's even a remote possibility). Even if Buffalo's not willing to match whatever another team offers Parise (and honestly unless it's in the $5M range I'd pass as the Sabres will have to pay the likes of Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis in due time) they could potentially get FOUR first round draft picks if they don't match. If that happens their net draft pick loss of "three" actually becomes a net gain of one and they would essentially get the two first round picks back. All in all-I don't see this happening. But if I were GM it is something I would at least explore and would absolutely do if presented with the opportunity.