Up until yesterday, I was 100 % confident that the Devils would resign Zach Parise. After all, Lou values Parise as a cornerstone of this franchise and its undisputed leader. Therefore, with over 4 million dollars in cap room (and much more off the books this offseason), it would be ridiculous to think Jersey would not be able to throw a contract in the neighborhood of 6.5 million per season at Zach.
I do not doubt that Lou values Parise any less than what I stated above, but yesterday I saw this article by Forbes entitled "New Jersey Devils Appear Headed For Bankruptcy" (link here). This is not the NY Post reporting a random rumor that one of their writers had a dream about - this is Forbes. Yes, journalists can be deceived by sources and misreport a story. However, that this story has been reported by Forbes in such a context that explains the specifics of what is going on with Vanderbeek and Chambers worries me. I'm aware that some shareholders in the team are trying to sell their stake to Vanderbeek or something like that, but this story is reporting that Vanderbeek is missing payments and leading the Devils down a bleak road.
This really hurts the Devils. Players are less likely to flock to a team in a bad financial situation. Further, the Devils own players are less likely to want to remain here if they do not believe the team will be able to offer the amount of money that suits their liking. For a player like Parise, there is little reason why he would want to stay here if he knows he can get more $ from another team? The obvious answer is that he will remain here out of loyalty, which does play a big part in why players stay with a team. However, Zach wants long-term security. The Devils financial situation makes me believe that Zach will not be offered a mega-contract (like Kovalchuk).
This is not a situation created by Lou - he is still a master negotiator and we need him more than ever to help him see us through this growing mess and, most importantly, build a Devils team around Zach.
It is very easy for fans to put up a facade that "everything is always ok" and that "we will get better". We had that last year during the Devils darkest days. This is not a deplorable act - as fans we want to think that our team will always fight through its difficulties, otherwise, the Pittsburgh Pirates would not have any fans. I am not saying that I am not confident in our team to overcome its woes, but this financial issue has the potential to stain our franchise in a time of transition to a faster, younger, more offensive team built around Kovalchuk, and, hopefully, Zach.
What do you think? Are you more nervous now? Don't just tell me that "Zach will sign period" or otherwise you have fallen into a trap that everything will always go right with our team.