Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have been courted since Canada Day; they wont announce their respective decisions until at least Independence Day.
Several teams are waiting to see if they have a chance at landing either, or both, of the highly coveted free agents. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of those teams, as theyve shown interest in Parise. The New Jersey Devils forward has much to consider, and when he arrived back in Minnesota Tuesday, he told Michael Russo of Minneapolis Star Tribune that hes putting no timetable on his decision.
Theres a lot of things to factor into it and I think thats why were taking our time with the decision, said Parise, whos also being courted by the Wild, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, as well as the Devils. Its not something we can just make at 1 oclock on July 1. It takes time to make sure you consider everything and youre doing the right thing.
Parise also talked to Josh Rimer of NHL Home Ice on Tuesday night. He told Rimer that hes talked to Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello three or four times a day during this process, that hes talked with Suter the past few days and would love to play on a team with a defenseman like Ryan Suter. Parise added that the free-agency process has been much more than I anticipated it to be.
The forward told Rimer hes getting closer to a making a decision, and will spend July 4 on the lake mulling things over.
But as the Blackhawks wait, the free-agency pool gets more shallow. Other free agents are being signed and other trades are being made. And other than the Blackhawks acquiring Sheldon Brookbank on Sunday, theyve been quiet.
In going after Parise, the Blackhawks are showing some gumption. Theyre willing to make a big pitch to land a very big, and very talented, fish. And if they pull it off, even though Parise doesnt solve their bigger needs, hes nevertheless one hell of an addition.
The question is, what if they dont?
In the four days since PariseSuter watch began, there have been a myriad of pickups and moves. Defensemen such as Jason Garrison and Sheldon Souray have signed with others. Center Derek Roy was dealt to the Dallas Stars for feisty, and effective, forward Steve Ott.
Theyre all pretty talented players, all pieces that may have fit somewhere in the Blackhawks puzzle. If they dont land their big fish, its more likely the Blackhawks will have to look at trades to address their needs.
Maybe the Blackhawks are playing the greatest cloak-and-dagger game of all time. Maybe theyre scheming to go for both Parise and Suter. The Wild are doing that Parises a native Minnesotan and Russo reported that the Wild sent a contingent to Suters farm. But all indications are that Parise is the Blackhawks main target.
Sooner or later, the leagues top free agents will make their choices. And if Parise doesnt choose the Blackhawks, theyll be the ones having to make decisions.