ST. PAUL, Minn. New Jersey Devils' star Zach Parise's name has been at the tip of the tongues of Minnesota Wild fans for over a year, hoping the Minnesota native would one day return home to be the electrifying scorer Minnesota has missed since Marian Gaborik left town.
As free agency nears on July 1, the Parise watch has only intensified. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, unwilling to add any buzz to the speculation, simply deflects the questions as they come.
"It's been a runaway train, for sure, in the media everywhere and not just here," Fletcher said Thursday at his pre-draft press conference. "I think it just speaks to the parity in the league and how much competition there is. And, frankly, it's a year where a lot of teams have money to spend. I've looked. There's a lot of teams with a lot of money to spend. So I think my only statement would be it's probably a good year to be a free agent."
Parise, 27, is a five-time 30-plus goal scorer in six NHL seasons. He's been a...