Should the Rangers Look at Parise If He Makes Free Agency?

Some people don’t think the Rangers need another big name winger, some think they do. Some think they need someone short term until the likes of Chris Kreider matures. What is clear to everyone though is the quality that New Jersey Devil Zach Parise possesses. This week, Parise agreed to a one year deal worth $6m with the Devils, in what looks like a compromise of a deal for both sides.

This deal seems similar to the situation that Henrik Lundqvist found himself in a few years back when he signed a short term deal before signing a new deal at the turn of the year – when he was officially allowed to re-negotiate with the Rangers. In all likelihood the Devils will continue to work towards a deal with Parise over the coming months and hopefully for them, come to a conclusion and announce something long term after December. However is he a viable option for the Rangers if Parise doesn’t come to an agreement? He’ll be a UFA next summer.

Thinking only about the cap maths, the Devils may have removed Brian Rolston from their cap but they still have issues to negotiate as only three defensemen have contracts beyond next season (not including potential rookie Adam Larsson) while a certain New Jersey goaltender will require replacing sooner rather than later. Even if Brodeur stays, his contract is up after next season too. As you can see the Devils won’t have much money to spend on Parise.

So, do the Rangers need him and can they afford him? In all honesty, in the short term Parise is absolutely a need purely down to his elite level. When a player of that ability becomes available he upgrades almost every team. However the Rangers are blessed with a ton of organisational hope on the wings so Parise may be a luxury that they could ill afford… Until you look at another area of Rangers the organisation.

With the impressive depth on the blueline, starting next season Dan Girardi is a luxury. He’s a good player but Pavel Valentenko and Tomas Kundratek should be NHL ready and Dylan McIlrath will be that much closer to the big leagues as well. That’s without considering any other prospects. Would you trade Dan Girardi to accommodate Zach Parise? There are not many fans that wouldn’t.

Removing Girardi’s deal as well as those of Erik Christensen (not needed), Ruslan Fedotenko (aging and replaceable) and Steve Eminger (replaceable depth) and you already have nearly $6.5m dollars in cap space and that is without accounting for the expiring deals of Wolski and Sean Avery who in the event of a Parise acquisition would certainly not be invited back. That would be another 5+ million in space. As you can see, the Rangers could afford to go after Parise if he became available. The only deal the Rangers have to worry about (as of now) after next season is Brandon Prust’s although Prust won’t command a major salary.

Parise will have an important decision to make next summer. Can he win a Stanley Cup in New Jersey? Can his club replace their legendary goalie and upgrade the roster to become relevant again or would the impressive young team across the river be more able to match Parise’s own ambitions? If a cup is his priority, Parise will surely at least consider alternatives even if the Devils manage to keep him.

Imagine a top 6 for the Rangers boasting Zach Parise, Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Dubinsky, Callahan and Stepan or Anisimov. Given the talent in net with Lundqvist and the depth on the blue line Parise makes this team one of the very best in the league and a cup that much more realistic. To reiterate; Parise may not even get to next summer. However if he does, the Rangers should think very carefully about grabbing the talented winger. Or should they?