As they entered the post-season, the Devils had only two goals in mind–winning the Stanley Cup and building a case to keep star winger, Zach Parise.

Parise, 27, will enter the open market as an unrestricted free agent this off-season. In 502 career games with the Devils, Parise has tallied 410 points including 194 goals. During Monday’s Game 4, Parise made his presence felt, netting two goals and adding another assist. These three points were Parise’s first points of this Eastern Conference Finals. His Eastern Conference Finals opponent, the NY Rangers, have never been shy about chasing and signing free agents. In recent memory, the Rangers have inked forwards, Brad Richards and Marion Gaborik. With some cap flexibility heading into next season, will the Rangers sign the talented left wing?

Parise’s impending free agency comes at an inopportune time for the NHL. The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on September 15th, casting a wave of uncertainty. Still, a talent like Parise’s rarely hits the open market and teams will not let this opportunity pass by. For instance, the Red Wings have been very, very public with their comments. Detroit’s roster is getting much older and the team needs an infusion of new blood.

For the Rangers, they always seem one offensive player short. As the East’s top seed, the Rangers have struggled, but survived, lacking a truly dominant scoring presence and allowing opponents to stay in the game. Inking Parise will clearly bolster the Rangers’ top line and add an immediate scoring infusion.

Based off of this year’s cap numbers, the Rangers will have roughly $15 million of cap space for next season. The Rangers already have forwards Richards, Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Carl Hagelin, and Chris Kreider. Adding Parise will clearly give the Rangers the deepest set of forwards in the NHL. 

Ultimately, I think the Parise bidding war will get too expensive for both the Rangers and Devils. Despite their offensive struggles, the Rangers have to be encouraged by the play of Hagelin and Kreider. In addition, the Devils have been tightening their purse strings and may not be able to afford their star wing. Remember, Parise is a native of Minnesota, so expect the Wild to at least entertain the notion of signing him. Zach Parise crossing the river to don a Blue Shirt is a nice thought, but in reality, it won’t happen.