Zach Parise has signed a one-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, avoiding arbitration and allowing Lou Lamoriello to continue working with his prized young forward towards a long-term contract. The team announced the deal late on Friday.
Parise had been a restricted free agent and had failed to sign since the free agency period opened up, but the Devils trade of Brian Rolston to the New York Islanders on Thursday opened up some much needed salary cap space to get the deal done.
Of course, it's only one year, so we could be in this boat with Parise and the Devils once more next year, but what's most important about this deal on Friday is that the two parties avoid arbitration. Everybody knows how nasty the arbitration process can get, and as Lamoriello said on Friday in announcing this deal, you can only get a maximum of a one-year deal that way anyway.
The boss expanded on that sentiment, via Tom Gulitti:
"It was just the right thing under the present circumstances because of the time frame," Lamoriello said. "With the arbitration coming up, we would not have got it done, so it was a mutual agreement to work on a settlement and that's what we did. Now, we just go forward and get ready for the season, but in the meantime I will certainly continue to talk with his representation."
Parise cannot sign a contract for the 2012-13 season (or beyond) until January 1, but that won't stop the two parties from having those talks before that date. They'll continue working towards a long-term deal, and given Parise's quick agreement in getting this one-year deal done without arbitration, it seems like he's certainly affable towards the idea of staying in New Jersey for the long-term.
For more on the deal, check in with SB Nation's In Lou We Trust.