May 14 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) puts New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise (9) on the boards during the first period in game one in the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
One of the biggest fish in the pond turned down the New York Rangers yesterday. Well, sort of. What Zach Parise did do was say he wasn't going to sign a contract with the Rangers if he hits the open market on July 1st. How much interest the Rangers had in the 27-year-old sniper is up for debate (however it's fair to say the Rangers were at least giving him a long, hard look). And if you can fully believe Parise, he won't be taking his talents to Broadway.
Anyway, the point is that this isn't a big deal.
Yes, the New York Rangers were ousted by Parise's New Jersey Devils in the playoffs this year, mainly because the Rangers' best offensive player (Marian Gaborik) was injured, the team couldn't generate much offense without him, they also couldn't hold possession in the Devils' zone for long stretches and New York was, quite frankly, exhausted from the back-to-back seven-game series that preceded the Eastern Conference Finals.
What does this mean for the Rangers? Join me after the jump for more.
Parise would have solved a few of those issues, but at what cost? Parise is currently saying that he wants to remain a Devil, which is nice and all, but it's doubtful that the Devils (who are having some financial issues of their own) are going to be able to offer Parise the same terms that say the Rangers, Detroit Red Wings or even Minnesota Wild would be able to if he hits the open waters.
So, if the Rangers were very interested in Parise, the organization can now move on. Will they look into Rick Nash? Will they take a longer look at the defense and make a move for Shea Weber? Is Bobby Ryan still on the market? How much interest do the Rangers really have in Alexander Radulov? These are the new questions circulating the Rangers' offseason plans. A lot also hinges on Justin Schultz -- since the Rangers won't need another defenseman if they land him.
If you're a Rangers fan you need to concede two things from all this. The first is that Parise is a hell of a hockey player and the Rangers would have been lucky to land his services. The second thing, however, makes the Rangers a little lucky that he's not coming. It's his salary. Parise and his impending contract -- which I think will be around or even above $8-million a year -- are no longer an issue for the Rangers. And if you're a fan who is against Nash because of his contract and for the Rangers snagging Parise, realize that Parise's contract might actually be bigger than Nash's. It will also probably be longer.
If Parise isn't coming -- and if the Rangers believe him -- then it would appear likely that Nash becomes the Rangers' primary concern (if he weren't already).
Maybe he wasn't their top priority from the get-go. Maybe he was. We simply don't know. What we do know is that if Parise was being serious, he lost a major chip he could have used for leverage in upcoming negotiations. He might have lost it already. How much it impacts the Rangers? Not as much as you might think.