NHL Free Agency 2012: Zach Parise

The only way to distract from Parise-fest is to talk about Sidney Crosby.

We've done plenty on the Zach Paise situation. We have had some fun with it, criticized the pundits, and provided a bit on our own thoughts. After talking with the guy for the first time last Wednesday, I can tell you that he is absolutely human, a great guy, and the Wild would be drop dead lucky to have him. From both an on ice and off ice perspective, there isn't another free agent the Wild could use more than Parise.

There in lies the rub.

Is he ready to be the guy who can't go anywhere without being hounded for autographs? Is he ready to lead a team offensively, with little to no secondary scoring? Is he ready to have the media all over him, ready to answer a thousand questions a night from fans and media alike?

The man is so focused on by the Wild fan base that it has become almost embarrassing. There are other players out there, but no one sees them. It is Parise-or-Bust, and frankly, it scares the living bejebus out of most of the Hockey Wilderness staff. He's a big DTBL supporter, so I am biased, but at the same time, the guy deserves a chance to be happy and successful, and I'm not sure he can ever live up to the expectations placed on him herein Minnesota.

With free agency less than a week away, we kick off our coverage with the one man that seems to be make or break for Wild fans.

Bryan: Parise seems to be the only one Wild fans are interested in. Lou Nanne has weighed in, the talking heads have weighed in, and it simply time to put up or shut up. I tried my best to mock the situation, but it didn't really work. Wild fans are so queued in on this one player that we may need professionals around to help with a suicide watch should he not sign here.

Parise is an absolute offensive stud. He would make the Wild that much more dangerous, and provides a player that they are unlikely to see in free agency for a long time. The reports are that the Wild are ready to get absolutely stupid with the offer. I just want to remind people to be careful what they wish for.

If it is me, I offer a seven year deal at about $8 million per. My guess? The Wild are ready to pony up more than that.

Verdict: 10 years, $9 million per year.

JS: Believe me, I'll be doing backflips in the street if we get Parise, but the rumors surrounding the potential signing have gotten me nervous: 13 year deal? Money Parise won't be able to refuse? This kind of smells like disaster. NO ONE is worth a 13 year contract. I wouldn't give Sidney frickin' Crosby a 13 year deal. A lot can happen in 13 years and players can't possibly maintain that high of a level of play for 13 years, unless they're a superhero cyborg like Nicklas Lidstrom and even he didn't get a ridonkulously long contract in his career.

Also, the talk is that the Wild will throw as much money as they possibly can at Parise. He's good, but not 9-million-a-year good. I'd have to think that reasonably, he should be worth close to what Koivu's getting, maybe a bit more. I do understand it may take more to net him, but Parise also made it clear that money isn't what he's looking for necessarily. Another problem with a contract of the magnitude he's likely to get is that his style of play and prior injuries are both concerns for future injury problems. I'm excited to see if the Wild will get their hometown hero, but I'm also very, very afraid.

Verdict: 6-7 year, around 7 million per year.

What say you, Wilderness? Is this a "do whatever it takes" situation, or would you prefer that Parise either sign at a reasonable level, or not sign at all?

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