Originally written on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/20/14

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 28: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Prudential Center on December 28, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Thrashers 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils began life after captain Zach Parise wondering how they replace the leadership, grittiness and production of the guy who had been the heart and soul of their team. Parise, 27, signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild. Two seasons ago, Parise played only 13 games because of a knee injury, and, after he had scored 146 goals over the previous four seasons, his absence was a major key in the Devils missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Now, he will score no goals for New Jersey. And you really have to wonder about how the Devils replace what he brought to the ice game in and game out. You also have to wonder about the team losing another marquis free agent, extending a track record that has to be the worst in the league. While there have been built-in excuses for stars leaving New Jersey, reasons that take general manager Lou Lamoriello somewhat off the hook -- and Parise going home to Minnesota is just the latest -- one ...
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