Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 7/1/12

NHL free agency is underway, and nearly every team will be interested in making a run at Devils’ captain Zach Parise. The young left-winger guided his team to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, and will surely be getting a huge contract this offseason. Here is a look at the places he will most likely end up.

4. Minnesota Wild: Minnesotans are patiently waiting to see if the young star will return home to play for the Wild. However, if Minnesota wants to have a realistic chance at signing Parise, they will have to make a few other moves to prove that they are trying to be Stanley Cup contenders. As we’ve learned from LeBron, “hometown heroes” often become disgruntled with no supporting cast.

3. New Jersey Devils: Despite finishing fourth in their division, the Devils proved that they could win now if Parise returns. Martin Brodeur is expected to return next season, and expect the goalie to recruit him very hard. Parise has spent his entire career in New Jersey, and there will be a lot of pressure on him not to leave because he is captain and responsible for their recent success.

2. Los Angeles Kings: If you can’t beam ‘em, join ‘em. After winning the Stanley Cup, the Kings have filled all of their roster except one spot, a scoring left-winger. Many believe this was so the defending champs could make a serious run for Parise, who they would be able to offer a long, lucrative contract. It will be tough for Parise (or anyone) to reject a move from New Jersey to Los Angeles.

1. Detroit Red Wings: With former captain Nicklas Lidstrom retiring at the end of the season, the Red Wings have some cap room to work with. This is a very logical fit, as Detroit needs someone to step into a leadership role right away and help boost them to the Stanley Cup Finals. Just like with the Lakers or Yankees, there is never a season when the Red Wings aren’t contenders for the Stanley Cup. Parise could be the star of Hockey Town, and help make the franchise extremely dangerous for the next several years if he signs a long term contract.

-Langer

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