Originally written February 02, 2012 on centericechat.com:

New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise will most likely face uncharted territory this summer: free agency. The 27-year-old is worth $6 million to the Devils this year while producing 16 goals and 25 assists in 49 games thus far. According to Pro Hockey Talk, Devils ownership says keeping the star left wing won’t get bogged down by the cash-strapped organization which defaulted an $80-million loan. But, Parise’s contract could be an after-thought behind sorting through the financial issues. Parise is almost guaranteed to be up for grabs by July 1, given the Devils’ current financial situation and the team’s past of not negotiating much during the season. Will Parise be last year’s Brad Richards? Most likely. In fact, the Rangers, according to Pro Hockey Talk, may be a suitor given cap space. The Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals are also included in that pond fishing for the big free agent. At Parise’s age, Richards was earning $7.8-million a year within a five-year contract signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Parise can arguably be worth more than that. Meanwhile, Richards of course is making $12 million this year with his front-loaded contract and a cap hit less than $7 million. Who do you see Parise signing with on July 1? Can the Devils scrap the change to keep its captain in town? Matthew Wilson is editor of Center Ice Chat. Follow him on Twitter @Mattjw24. Be sure to also Like us on Facebook and to Follow our Tumblr page. If you'd like to contribute, or appear as a guest columnist, please email us at CenterIceChat@gmail.com.

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