UPDATE: Breathe a deep sigh of relief Devils fans. It appears that Bloomberg’s report earlier that the Devils are for sale is false.
EARLIER: The shocking announcement this afternoon that the Devils are for sale will have a ripple affect throughout the National Hockey League.
There are a few teams in need of new owners — the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes being first among them — so New Jersey could be forced to wait a while before being able to stand on stable financial ground again.
And that’s bad news for New Jersey, which must re-sign superstar left wing Zach Parise, who’s set to be a restricted free agent this summer.
A week ago it would have been asinine to suggest the Devils would ever let the face of their future go, but they might not have a choice. When less-lucrative franchises go up for sale, very often they must shed player salary in an effort to make themselves appealing to prospective buyers. As Larry Brooks of The New York Post explains, “Owners generally want to keep obligations to minimum when attempting to sell. Can’t envision a $75M investment in player.”
Parise is the one player the Devils wouldn’t want to give up. But a $6 million or $7 million investment in one player, especially when the Devils are cap-strapped to begin with (that Ilya Kovalchuk signing looks worse by the day), is a difficult sell for future owners.
The Devils will certainly do everything they can in the coming months to clear expensive salaries to make keeping Parise more realistic, but if they’re unable to, they may have little choice but to listen to offers.
Then again, if the rumour is true that the Devils signed Kovalchuk in the first place to make the team appealing to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, maybe they’ll be in better financial shape much sooner than we realise.
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