Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pens Parise/Suter Panic Premature

In case you missed it, the Pittsburgh Penguins' GM Ray Shero was a busy little beaver during this weekend's NHL Draft as he traded center Jordan Staal to be united with his brother in Carolina, and shipped defenseman Zbynek Michalek back to where he started in Phoenix.  Instantly, the speculation ran ramped that the Pens were clearing cap space to lure in coveted free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to build a dream team with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang, and Fluery and that they had already started trying to acquire Suter's rights among other rumors.  This began a code red alert among the fans in Hockeytown, myself included.  A couple days later, I have calmed down.  Here are a few of the reasons why.

The rumor of Parise wanting to play with Crosby because they are buddies from prep school in Minnesota is just that.  A rumor.  Just as the rumors that Parise wants to play with Datsyuk, or that Parise and Suter are buddies from Team USA and a package deal, or that Suter won't play for the Eastern Conference, or that Suter already has his bags packed for the D, or that Parise wishes to return home to play for the Wild.  I am not saying all of these rumors don't make perfect sense and are not believable because they are.  I am guilty as the next in getting excited every time I read a rumbling that works in the Wings' favor.  But until free agency starts on July 1, none of us really can buy into any of it.  Much of it is rhetoric put out by their agents to drive up the prices.  All this really should tell us is that starting July 1, our guesses are as good as anyone's and that none of us, not even the players themselves, know what will happen.

In regards to the Penguins clearing the cap space to pursue one or both of these players, that's fine.  They will have to line up along with 23 other teams.  In reality, all this has done is add to the long list of teams that will make their pitch.  It has been no secret the competition will be fierce and that it will be a bloodbath.  The more the merrier I guess.  And one aspect of the Penguins' cap situation that has seemed to be getting overlooked is that they have 2 big pieces that are due for raises/extensions in Crosby and Letang.  Crosby is supposedly going to be getting a 10-year extension in which he will be paid as the top player in the league whether he actually is or not.  Letang is due for a hefty raise as he, just like Suter, is a young premier defensemen in which the Penguins plan on having anchor their blue line for years to come.  Defensemen of his calibre are at a premium in the NHL and I am sure his next deal will reflect that.  Not to mention they have a big chunk of money already tied up in Malkin, Neal, and Fluery.  They may have the available cap space now, but what about in the future?  I am not saying signing Parise and Suter is impossible, I am just saying it isn't exactly punch button either.

As dreamy as playing with Crosby and Malkin may be, what the Red Wings have to offer is not exactly chopped liver.  For starters, Pavel Datsyuk is regarded by the players as the best player in the league.  Zetterberg also carries respect amongst his peers.  I am sure Parise could greatly benefit by playing alongside the magician wearing #13 as can Suter by quarterbacking a powerplay in which he will be feeding the Eurotwins as well as The Mule.  I don't think I am completely being a homer when I say that alone is comparable to what Pittsburgh brings to the table.  Not to mention the other selling points the Wings have such as tradition, commitment to winning, being an original 6 team, the fan base, closer proximity to home (Parise), the guarantee of being the #1 guy for years (Suter), the unquestioned reputation of the organization being first class, as well as the new arena on the horizon.  And, oh yeah, we have a ton of cap space as well and will be able to throw very competitive offers their way.  Maybe more competitive than most, if not all, of the teams competing for their services.  This is the Detroit Red Wings we're talking about.  An original 6 team.  We are not talking about the Phoenix Coyotes here.  I am not saying the Red Wings are guaranteed anything either.  I am just saying that we all need to keep things in perspective that the Wings can compete with any team when it comes to attracting free agents on the same level the New York Yankees do in the MLB.  This even more so this year with the available cap space.

The moral of the story is that until July 1, nobody knows what will happen.  Everything up until this point, no matter how rational it sounds, is nothing but speculation.  The players more than likely don't even know where they will end up.  They may have ideas as to where they would like to end up and I am sure Detroit as well as Pittsburgh are on their lists along with other clubs.  The Wings will be right there in thick of it all and I trust that Holland, Nill, Devellano, and Babcock will be making their best sales pitches to bring home the biggest names on the market. 

The only thing I am certain of is that I can't wait for July 1!  The thought of Parise and Suter teaming up with Crosby is scary (also nauseating).  But we all just need to take a chill pill and breathe.  Let Kenny and the brass do their thing and let's see how this shakes out.


  1. It's true. I know I had a mini-freakout moment at the Pittsburgh rumors. July 1st needs to get here in a hurry.

  2. It seriously can't come fast enough. If Parise does indeed sign with Pit I may vomit though.

  3. While I am excited for July 1st, and I HOPE Detroit does get to sign both of these players, one big downside for Suter, or any OTHER free agent D man we go after, is that they will be playing in the shadow of Lidstrom. Fair or not, it doesn't matter. Whoever we sign, or whoever steps up to be our top D, will undoubtedly be compared to Lidstrom in some way, shape or form by everyone imaginable. That could very much work against us

  4. Jaysin, that definitely could be a factor. However, if it does indeed scare a player off then we find out before it's too late they do not have the mental makeup we are looking for in a top Dman. But yes, this person will have huge shoes to fill.

  5. As a Pitt fan I can see both side of the argument and I assure you, Pitt might make offers to both but they will only sign one of them if they want to sign (most like they'll accept Parise as we have a lot of young Dmen they want to give time too). That means Detriot will probably get the other (Suter). I don't think many other teams can make a real sales pitches other than the Ranger. Minny doesn't have a chance as they are almost re-building

    1. I think Parise is a realistic possibility but I just can't see them getting both unless they plan on becoming the Chicago Blackhawks in 2-3 years.