Sports Hockey

Devils will be fine without Parise: Lamoriello

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello (above) appeared to get over the loss of former captain Zach Parise pretty quickly Wednesday. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters file photo)

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello (above) appeared to get over the loss of former captain Zach Parise pretty quickly Wednesday. (MIKE SEGAR/Reuters file photo)

For someone who had just lost the player that coach Peter DeBoer consistently called the "heartbeat" of the New Jersey Devils during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lou Lamoriello didn't sound like a defeated man during a conference call with the media on Wednesday afternoon.

"We have a lot of generals here," Lamoriello said less than an hour after the Minnesota Wild confirmed the signings of free agents Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter.

"I don't feel leadership is going to be an issue at all."

But as for naming a new captain, Lamoriello said he's not even thinking about it right now.

Lamoriello said losing Parise to free agency was not unlike the blow to the organization when defenceman Scott Niedermayer signed with the Anaheim Ducks in 2005.

"There's no question we're disappointed," Lamoriello said. "It's very unfortunate . when a player of (Parise's) stature comes through the organization and makes a decision to go elsewhere."

Parise would have stayed in New Jersey, where he spent seven seasons, had he not had the opportunity to play at home and with Suter, a close friend. Lamoriello confirmed that Suter was contacted by the Devils but told the club he had no interest in leaving the Western Conference.

As for the 13-year, $98-million US contracts signed by Parise and Suter, they're just as ridiculous as any other deal signed since NHL free agents were able to start shopping their wares on Sunday. Both are highly talented players, but neither is considered the best at his position in the game.

And no matter what, the signings don't automatically give the Wild a Cup title, let alone several in the next coming years. In the past 13 years, 11 different teams have hoisted the Cup. Only the Detroit Red Wings, in 2008 and 2002, and the Devils, in 2003 and 2000, won it more than once.

Parise was a big reason why the Devils made it to within two victories of the Cup in June before New Jersey lost to the Los Angeles Kings, and there is no doubt he is hell of a player who has no off switch.

He also was a team-worst minus-8 in 24 playoff games, while rookie Adam Henrique led the Devils with a plus-12 mark.

Suter is a terrific defenceman too, but not the best on his former team. That's Shea Weber's rightful claim in Nashville.

Parise and Suter get the Wild closer to a Stanley Cup. But they can't guarantee it.


The man in an unenviable position is Predators GM David Poile. He sounded shaken during a conference call after Suter officially departed Nashville, and now Poile gets to try to convince Shea Weber to sign a long-term deal in Music City. Good luck with that. "It would be an understatement to say that the Nashville Predators are disappointed," Poile said. "Actually, not disappointed, but very surprised." . With Parise off the market, can we make an open plea to Scott Howson to finally trade Rick Nash? The Columbus Blue Jackets wanted to wait to see what avenues he would have with Parise's decision made, and now he knows. The Wings, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins are thought to remain in the running . Also on the trading block are Roberto Luongo and Bobby Ryan. With the upgrades made by so many clubs in the Western Conferences, we wonder whether Canucks GM Mike Gillis will have a change of mind in regard to trading Luongo or increase the price he is asking. Everyone can drool over Cory Schneider, but he remains unproven when compared to Luongo . Maybe Lamoriello doesn't want to peer too far into the future. His only forwards under contract for 2013-14 are Ilya Kovalchuk, Ryan Carter, Steve Bernier and Stephen Gionta.


With Parise and Suter signed, the lone unrestricted free agents who could make a big impact are forwards Alex Semin and Shane Doan. The latter is expected to decide whether he will leave the Phoenix Coyotes on July 9, when he should have a clearer idea on the Coyotes' ownership issues and the team's future in the desert . It was thought it would not take long for defenceman Matt Carle to sign after Suter did, and sure enough, Tampa got Carle on a six-year deal on Wednesday night. Semin? The Wings could be interested . Also among those still looking for work: Teemu Selanne (though anything other than a return to Anaheim would be a surprise), Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Wellwood, Dominic Moore, Wojtek Wolski, Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora and Carlo Colaiacovo . The Coyotes replaced one aging little forward with another one when they signed Steve Sullivan to a one-year, $1.85-million contract. The 5-foot-8, 161-pound Sullivan, who turns 38 on Thursday, goes into Phoenix after the departure of 5-foot-10, 181-pound 40-year-old Ray Whitney, who signed with the Dallas Stars. Whitney is the better player . Al Montoya has signed with the Winnipeg Jets to be their backup goalie. Too bad the Jets weren't able to get Jonas Gustavsson to agree to a contract when they got his rights from the Maple Leafs. Montoya is a step down from Gustavsson.