Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 3/14/12

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 16: Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center on December 16, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Canadiens 2-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Let's not mix words: If Ryan Suter and Zach Parise hit free agency, they will be the belle of the ball. Both players are in their prime, hard-working and generally represent everything a general manager craves when assembling a roster. The real question is: How much will those executives be willing to pony up?

Parise is currently on a lucrative one-year contract worth $6 million. The 27-year-old opted for a shorter deal this past offseason, one that would allow him to test the waters in free agency. That money fits into the salary cap of his current employers, the New Jersey Devils, so you have to figure they offer him at least a raise on that figure. Should the Devils offer him a deal that averages at $6.5 million, 27 of the 30 NHL clubs could match that offer. In other words, Parise should be cashing in soon.

Currently, Parise sits in the top 20 in goal-scoring among forwards. Nevertheless, 30 other forwards make at least $6 million annually. Therefore, if you want to land Parise, you need to pay him as the top scorer he is. Were talking about a player who scored 45 goals four years ago and is on pace to score 30 goals in four of his last five seasons. A proven commodity with miles to go on his legs, who can do more than just score goals, we should be looking at a contract in excess of $7 million.

However, there could be a caveat to Parise's imminent signing. The Minneapolis, Minn., native could opt to greatly help out his suiting team and sign a sweetheart deal. The contract, which might equal his desired contract value could extend numerous years to the point that he makes $1 million or less in the final seasons, driving down the cap hit. Such a move would assist his team in adding more talent while keeping the bottom line affordable. Should Parise choose something like this scenario, it will likely be for his hometown Minnesota Wild or the Devils. Regardless, the contract should topple Brad Richards' nine-year, $60 million pact of a year ago.

By that same token, Ryan Suter should command a hefty raise should he hit the open market. The Madison, Wisc., native is currently finishing up a four-year contract in which he earned a modest $3.5 million. In this current scenario, he should approach at least double his current paycheck. Last season, grizzled veteran Roman Hamrlik earned $3.5 million per year, which should be paint a vivid picture of Suter's raise.
A decent comparable would be Paul Martin, who inked a five-year deal worth $25 million. Martin, then 30, was coming off a season where he only posted two goals and 11 points. And while Martin was never known to be a dominant offensive defenseman -- his point totals topped out at 33 back in 2008-2009 -- he was signed as a reliable two-way defender. Comparing him to Suter, who has four consecutive seasons of at least 37 points, it looks like Martin sets the market for Suter to cash in on.
Suter is the complete package. He plays a hard-nosed, physical game in his own zone and can make a great first pass getting out of his own end. The 27-year-old plays in all situations and is a great supplement to Shea Weber's blast on the blue line. Defensemen of his caliber rarely hit the open market which makes guys like Paul Martin, James Wisniewski, and Dan Hamhuis completely overpaid. Suter's closest comparable is Zdeno Chara, the last marquee defender to hit free agency in his prime.
Chara hit the jackpot by getting a five-year contract with an average value of $7.5 million. Considering the ancient Sergei Gonchar currently makes $5.5 million a season, is $2 million more for a cornerstone defender really that much more? Weber currently makes that amount and is worth every penny. In fact, the argument should be made that Suter deserves $7.5 million and Weber should get even more. Both defensemen are simply that good.
Suter and Parise are the cream of the crop as far as free agents go. Both could re-sign with the Predators and Devils, respectively. Or they could test the market and get paid a king's ransom. Both will certainly get a raise over their current contracts; the new deals could max out around $7 or $7.5 million (or more).

All in all, good raises for both Suter and Parise as they find teams willing to pony up for a franchise player -- whether that's with the Predators, Devils or elsewhere.

Photos credit: Getty Images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Heat could make a run at Kevin Durant

Goodell denies request to recuse himself from Brady appeal

Dan Marino: Brady one of best QBs ever despite Deflategate

Sepp Blatter stepping down as FIFA president

Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints agree to five-year deal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steve Williams: 'There's no chance' Tiger Woods did PEDs

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers want jury probe in Lloyd case

Adrian Peterson ends holdout, returns to Vikings

Albert Pujols: Angels are not 'the Mike Trout show'

Steve Nash: Curry's shooting 'greatest there's ever been'

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

UAB football's return great, but bad publicity will last forever

What Adrian Peterson's return means for the Vikings

2015 Stanley Cup Final preview: Blackhawks vs. Lightning

Umenyiora, wife Leila Lopes respond to cheating allegations

Would Cavs winning title impact Love's impending free agency?

If you love speed, you'll love the 2015 Stanley Cup Final

The Chicago Bulls and the culture of fitting in

Biggest X-factors for Cavaliers and Warriors in NBA Finals

Shaq: I'd take Kobe over LeBron because of 'killer instinct'

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

WATCH: UAB fans celebrate football reinstatement

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

UAB fans celebrate football reinstatement

Sanchez backs off dismissal of Tebow

Gronk responds to critics of his antics

Bruce Jenner reveals new identity

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.