The Los Angeles Kings are the latest team to hoist the Stanley Cup. The victory parade hasn't even taken place and already rumors are surfacing about what the Los Angeles Kings may or may not do over the summer in terms of free agency.
The Kings will have plenty of new revenue this summer if they are looking to expand their current payroll. The Cup victory should bring in a healthy stream of revenue and the team also recently agreed to a new television deal that will pay them handsomely. If the Kings desire to add a new piece, they'll have the money to do it along with plenty of money left over to extend the players they'd like to retain such as Jonathan Quick.
Zach Parise has likely skated in his last game for the New Jersey Devils in his team's Game 6 loss in Los Angeles. He appears set to test the open market. Could he be returning to the STAPLES Center on a regular basis in 2012-13?
A report from the Toronto Sun speculates a scenario where the Los Angeles Kings may try and land the star they were just trying so hard to beat. The article mentions that the Kings, while happy with their first Cup, won't be content with just one title under their belt. Los Angeles has their eyes on a dynasty.
The Kings have a solid young group of players in place that make the idea of a dynasty a realistic one. However, they will need to continue to add pieces around this young group in order to round out their lineup. The Kings have key players such as Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty locked up with long deals. Jonathan Quick will get a new, larger deal in the near future. Even with all these pieces in place the Kings will have roughly $16 million to work with before they reach the salary cap.
Bringing in Parise to LA makes a lot of sense for several reasons. First, Parise has made it known that he wants to be on a team that's not only competitive but one that has a chance to win the Cup each and every year. LA's young nucleus, including a formidable goaltender in Jonathan Quick, could be the exact situation Parise is longing for. Second, Los Angeles is looking for a major piece that will tip them from being contenders to being the clear favorite. As mentioned, they have several intricate pieces locked up but they could use one more major piece to truly open eyes heading into 2012-13. Finally, Parise is a young emerging star. Those that are serious hockey fans are well aware of his talent but to the casual fan he may just be a solid forward that missed out on the Cup. A big move to a new team, especially the Cup champion, may thrust Parise right into the spotlight he might be craving.
However, though Parise to LA does make a lot of sense, it does carry with it a sizable amount of risk. The Kings would need to be prepared to give the New Jersey forward a sizable, lengthy contract. He is currently coming off of a one-year, $6 million deal and will likely be looking for his new deal to have a rather large increase in both years and cash. It's reasonable to speculate that Parise's services will cost $8-9 million a year for five years or more. This is just an educated guess but it's safe to assume he will want a nice raise and will want some sort of deal with longevity. It could be a bit more or a bit less but this at least gives us something to work with.
The Kings could swing this sort of deal based on their current salaries. Even if Jonathan Quick fetched a bigger deal we can assume the Kings would still be able to fit in one more star. However, they will then be a bit limited in what deals they might be able to make beyond a potential Parise deal. The Kings would have to ensure that the Parise deal is the correct move as they won't be able to fiddle around much more under the cap. They would have to be sold on the depth they could land for the limited amount of funds they would have left.
The other risk here is that if LA brought in Parise they would have a large chunk of payroll tied up in just a handful of players. This isn't an issue if these players are the cream of the crop and able to perform at a high enough level that allows cheap or average options behind them. This is a huge issue if any of these players with large contracts trails off or, even worse, suffers a major injury. It's not kind to point fingers but Jeff Carter and his lengthy 11-year, $55 million contract might be what we're hinting at here. Carter is under contract through 2021-22. There's a lot that could go wrong when so much money is tied up for so long. The Kings would have to be content in taking yet another risk with another long-term deal (Though it's safe to bet LA wouldn't give Parise an 11-year deal like Philadelphia gave to Carter).
Parise moving to the Kings would be salt in the wounds for Devils fans. For Kings fans it may be the last piece to the dynasty the LA front office thinks they are close to making. Will it happen? That's up for debating.
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