Today Zach Parise spoke to the media after a long day, and explained that he hasn’t made a decision yet. He took questions, but refused to let on if he was leaning in any particular direction.

I’ve got absolutely no problem with that.

But, it does mean that the rest of the league has to wait another day to find out what’s happening. There are a number of people who are Plan B for teams that don’t get Parise, and those guys, and their families now have to wait too. Teams need to wait to figure out who’s available, what holes need to be filled, and figure out a way to catch the earlier-falling dominoes.

That’s a lot of pressure on one guy (well two, with Suter waiting to decide as well).

As Elliotte Friedman mentioned on Twitter, there’s no way a major life decision should have to play out like this:

If Parise had 100 million dollar offers from two teams, it might be reasonable to assess the pros and cons in a couple days. But, those lists go long – where do you want to raise a family, does climate matter, do teammates matter, does staff matter, does loyalty matter, where’s your best chance to win as a team, where will you succeed most on a personal level, do you have friends on the team….I mean, I could make this paragraph 1000 words. Still, a decision could be made in 48, 72 hours, assuming things weren’t ridiculously close between the two.

But Parise has like, six, seven teams hurling 80-100 million-dollar offers at him. What is it, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philly, Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit…maybe Carolina….god knows who else. How much time would you need on the pro/con list in that scenario? What would be the problem with allowing a “courting period” that could start after the draft and run until yesterday?

It’s not like teams are allowed to offer him contracts during the season. It’s not like they’re allowed to express interest. Anyone who thinks “he’s had all year” has no idea about the process. You can guess, but you never really know your options.

With the new CBA being negotiated this summer, something has to change. There’s no reason guys shouldn’t be allowed to hear everyone out in a manner more thorough than speed dating, and sit down with the people most important to them, and think.

Instead, Parise’s making people angry, all because he’s being a smart guy.

Comments (13)

  1. Eh. I feel you got kinda suckered into writing this. Who is pressuring Parise and Suter? The fans? Not really. I want to know where they are going, but if it takes a week to make a decision, I don’t really care. Other players? You know the players mindset a lot better than I ever will – but are the current, and potential, teammates really that bothered by this? Is someone going to reeeely think less of Parise because he took a few days to decide? I doubt it.

    The only people he’s really pissing off are the media members. Because they are the ones who hype July 1 as some sort of Super Important World Changing OMG WHO WAS FIRST TO REPORT THIS ON TWITTER DREGER OR KYPREOS Day. Its not the fans fault these guys are being sent to stalk a player at his house or his agents office. Its the media. Its Hallmark creating holidays for people to buy cards for.

    And what would change if poor, trod-upon, didn’t-get-his-scoop-quick-enough Elliotte Friedman got the system he’s suggesting? Nothing? Guys would get a week – and then what – they have to decide? Or what? Ultimately, all that would do is give the media another week to hype stuff.

    Nothing is wrong with the free agency bidding system. Guys get offers and can decide on them in whatever manner they choose. GMs can make offers in whatever manner they choose – and if they dont want to get in a bidding war, that’s their choice. If we’re being honest, the people who would benefit most from a “waiting period” are the dopey GMs who toss $$ around like its free.

  2. Good post Justin, I think the waiting period makes a lot of sense. Give the players a week to sift through the offers and make the right decisions in their lives.

    One question I would have about such a process is whether offers be allowed to be made public? If so, so I feel this would both add to the media frenzy and drive up the amount being offered to players. You know that agents or players would leak details about offers in the hopes that the price would be driven upward.

    There’s not anything wrong using other offers as leverage, but if that happened it would probably result in a week that is even more insane than the current “frenzy” – thus undoing much of the benefit of such a waiting period, particularly if offers are continually amended to take account of rival teams’ latest bids.

    I’m sure there’s a way around this problem, but it’s just something that comes to mind when proposing this waiting period.

  3. Not sure that a “courting period” would make any difference. I’m no expert on the CBA but surely there is nothing that says a “big name” free agent has to sign a contract by July 2nd.

    Yes it may create a waiting game for the plan B players but I suspect that it actually give the “second tier” of teams a better chance of landing a name player (ie all the big name teams going after Parise, Colorado sign PA Parenteau [sp?])

  4. Good post; I did see that tweet by EF and I agree its a bad process. That being said, what current process should the NHL emulate? I saw that the NBA has a better process in place. Any chance you can shed some light on what steps the NHL could take to eliminate this issue? I feel like this “waiting period” was inevitable and many others commented on it over a week ago.

  5. Actually, it’d probably be easier for us to adjust our expectations. We all act like not signing within 3 hours is the height of disrespect and hubris because everyone always signs right away. That race has conditioned us to expect immediate signings where there’s no way for either the players or the teams to think about these contracts. Just let them be and let the them all think it through. Might make the whole thing more reasonable.

  6. This idea of a courting period works both ways – maybe a few teams need some time to think before they start throwing multi million dollar deals around on July 1!

  7. Justin, I think an additional problem is that the system forces players now to go for the longest contract possible as a way to guarantee the big money up front with a low cap hit. This add more pressure because players are choosing a team for the rest of their career instead of 3-4 seasons. For Parise, what if he chooses New Jersey, and then in a few years Brodeur and Lamoriello retire? He gets stuck being the next Rick Nash, trying to use his NTC to force a trade to the right location. This is why I think some way of preventing or discouraging long-term contracts needs to be added in the new CBA.

  8. What amazes me more than expecting big names off the table on July 1, is that big names sign deals at 12:06 pm on July 1. Or you get a situation like Dennis Wideman:

    4:53 pm – the Calgary Flames are pleased to announce that they’ve come to terms with Dennis Wideman in a complicated, well-thought-out process.
    4:54 pm – oh by the way, the Calgary Flames announce that they have just acquired the rights to Dennis Wideman from the Washington Capitals, like, twelve minutes ago.

    Shenanigans. That “waiting period” you suggest is probably already in place, informally, among the General Managers, and starts with the NHL Draft. Not that anyone would dare tamper, oh heavens no… just like they wouldn’t dream of signing a prize RFA to a humongous offer sheet or anything. But I might just happen to casually mention that a player exactly like Impending Free Agent who maybe looks a lot like your #28 would look fantastic on our first line, and I’d love to be able to have a guy just like that – but oh the risk, and if only I knew that he’d sign a contract very like this one I just happen to have written up (just for illustrative purposes) – hm, it might be for six years at $40.5 million front-loaded, the exact numbers escape me – well then, Land o’ Goshen that would be worth trading a physical defenseman who kills penalites and my third-round pick that I’m about to make… who did you say you liked in this spot? I sure hope he’s still there when your turn comes up!

    So I think we should just take your proposal and make it official and above-the-board. Official exclusive negotiating rights up until the Draft, which will be fixed at one week before free agency officially starts… in that week people can informally talk (under strict guidelines) and still trade players’ rights, but no agreements can be formalized… simply a time for players to make known what their demands are likely to be, and what teams are officially interested in whom.

  9. This courting period is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. If they could start talking to the players sooner means nothing, if it takes the player a month to decide it takes a month, the sooner you can talk to them makes no difference. The idea of forcing players to sign by a specific date, there are no words. I really do not see an issue on how things are. After all it is a business and people’s lives. Everyone is in the same boat.

  10. its not like these teams and GMs get taken by surprise by July 1st. You go into an offseason and Free Agency with goals and guidelines in place, but also have the ability to be adaptive. People commenting on teams needing to think before they throw money around? dont be nieve, just because you cant sign someone yet doesnt mean you dont have a clue about the market.

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