I can't argue against what Lou Lamoriello has done for this organization. He's delivered 3 Stanley Cups, a lot of post-season appearences and some of the best players in the league but I really do question if he still has the gift. It's been close to two months since he said that the Devils would do “everything we possibly can as expeditious as possible” to re-sign Zach Parise but if by doing "everything" he meant "nothing" than Lou has been true to his word.
IF the Bruins can manage to get a win tonight, that would mean the deadline for filing for arbitration gets moved to 5pm on Friday, otherwise the deadline remains 5pm Wednesday. The last we heard from Lou about anything, we got the ol' "Status Quo" nonsense that we usually get. It appears the two sides aren't really talking about contracts, which means the Devils are probably going the team-elected arbitration route with Parise. That's a brilliant move that makes complete sense because the one thing you want to do with your young two-way superstar is really piss him off before you try to get him to sign a big contract at below market value.
I am frustrated with the way Lou does business over the last few summers. Two years ago, we didn't sign Lemaire until well after the draft and after the July 1st Free Agency Frenzy. I think it is important to have your coach in place by July 1st, this way free agents know who they are going to be playing for. Last summer we made a mistake in hiring John Maclean (but at least it was before July 1st!!) but lets be honest, none of us really saw that signing as a mistake until we saw the product on the ice. While I wasn't thrilled with the signing of Kovalchuk, not because of the player but because of the length and cost, at least Lou actually did something.
So far this summer, a summer which has been longer than most for Devils fans, there hasn't been any news on the Devils. No news about a new coach, which we can even take a step further and say the top candidates for the job appear to be interviewing elsewhere and not doing so in NJ. Parise looks to be headed to arbitration which certainly wasn't the correct route to take with Holik or Gomez and those two can't even hold Zach's jock strap, let alone come close to the importance that Zach plays in the future of this organization.
Before people jump on me about the knee issue with Parise, I get that might be point of concern for the Lou and company as is the Salary Cap but I just see this whole thing going horribly wrong. All I can see is taking Parise to arbitration, pissing him off by the things said during arbitration because a team can't go into an arbitration hearing and praise the guy, and then watching him take off as an UFA next summer. We've seen it happen before and it doesn't seem that we've learned from the past.
What are your thoughts? If the Devils do take Parise through the arbitration process, can he get over whatever is said and sign a long-term deal with NJ by the July 1, 2012 deadline?