Pens sign Niskanen as Parise lottery set to open
The Penguins have attempted to secure a star, long-term winger for center Sidney Crosby for years without success. Sunday presents arguably their greatest opportunity.
New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise becomes a free agent at noon, and the Penguins are prepared to heavily court him.
Many of the Penguins have spoken among themselves about the possibility of Parise, 27, joining the team.
“It's hard to ignore all the talk about it,” said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed a two-year, $4.6 million contract with the Penguins on Saturday. “We've all heard about it. It's going to be an interesting day.”
The Penguins financially are positioned to offer Parise a wealthier deal than the one they presented to right wing Marian Hossa in 2008, as they are $12.2 million under next season's salary cap. Hossa turned down a seven-year, $50 million deal to accept a one-year, $7.45 million offer from the Detroit Red Wings.
The Penguins have historically served up mega-extensions to their stars — including Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Crosby and center Evgeni Malkin — but they have never landed a free agent in this price range. The most lucrative contracts the Penguins have given a free agent belonged to defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Paul Martin, both of whom inked five-year, $25 million deals.
Should the Penguins land Parise, his asking price will dwarf those. But it won't exceed Crosby's $8.7 million average annual salary. A team source said the only player who could receive a wealthier deal than Crosby's is center Evgeni Malkin, whose deal expires in 2014.
Still, the Penguins are expected to make Parise a competitive offer, thanks in part to Crosby not requesting a raise and the fact the salary cap jumped to $70.2 million from $64.3 million. Other teams interested in Parise, a former 40-goal scorer, are the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and the Devils.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero could not be reached for comment.
It is believed that Minnesota — Parise's home state — is positioned to make a more lucrative offer than the Penguins. However, the Penguins believe in their sales pitch: Parise and Crosby are close friends, dating to their playing days at Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school in Minnesota, and would play on the same line.
Niskanen's new contract will not affect the Penguins' offer to Parise.
Note: The Penguins have decided to let unrestricted free agents Arron Asham, Steve Sullivan and Richard Park test the market, though they haven't closed the door on their possible returns.
Staff writer Rob Rossi contributed. Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1975.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Giants, Bumgarner shut out Pirates in wild-card game
- Mt. Pleasant area man dies following police chase
- Bumgarner quiets Blackout crowd with 4-hit shutout
- Rossi: Pirates can’t waste McCutchen’s prime
- Coca-Cola shaves incentives for executives
- Giants’ Crawford makes history with slam
- Familiar format focuses on journey to Yesteryear visit
- West Virginia man dies from injuries sustained in chemical explosion
- Leader Times high roundup: Freeport girls soccer team makes playoffs
- Canadian company wins bid for casino
- Highmark to increase premiums, limit access to health care in new plans