By dealing center Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes and defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes, the Pittsburgh Penguins freed up about $6 million in salary cap space.
That could put them first in line for Zach Parise should the New Jersey Devils allow the high-scoring free agent to reach unrestricted free agency.
Crosby and Parise played together at Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota. They are still pals.
Parise doesn’t want to leave New Jersey -- but if that financially strapped team can’t keep him, then Pittsburgh would move toward the top of his list of desired employers.
Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero didn’t expect to get into the Parise hunt. But then again, he didn’t expect to lose Staal.
But when Staal rejected a 10-year, $60 million contract extension, Shero opted to deal him to Carolina for center Brandon Sutter, defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin and the first-round pick he used to draft Derrick Pouliot.
In a straight salary cap dump, Shero also dealt Michalek to the Coyotes for two prospects and a third-round pick. The move created $4 million in space in addition to the $2 million gained with the Staal trade.
Now Pittsburgh is ready to spend should Parise hit the market. It’ll be interesting to see if the Devils cry “uncle” and deal Parise’s negotiating rights to Pittsburgh.