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Devils sign Salvador as Parise, Suter weigh options

New Jersey Devils' Bryce Salvador, left, checks Philadelphia Flyers' James van Riemsdyk during the third period of Game 3 of a second-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, May 3, 2012 in Newark, N.J.

Associated Press

The Zach Parise - Ryan Suter Wait continued Tuesday morning, with two relatively minor signings forming the only NHL news.

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello continued to show his persuasive powers despite his team's financial woes when he convinced free-agent defenceman Bryce Salvador to return to the team. Also signing a new contract was restricted free agent defenceman Erik Johnson, who re-upped with the Colorado Avalanche.

In the meantime, Parise flew home to Minnesota from Toronto on Tuesday morning after watching the free-agent frenzy from his agent's office. Those close to him expect a decision some time Tuesday.

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However, shortly after getting off his flight from Toronto, Parise told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he still has some thinking to do. He said he still has to discuss the situation with his fiancée. "[It's] a much harder decision than I thought it would be," Parise said.

At this point, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and possibly the Devils are considered the front-runners for the 27-year-old forward. If Lamoriello convinces Parise to stay with the Devils it would be his best off-season ever, considering that he's managed to retain goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg and now Salvador despite the uncertainty surrounding the Devils.

Meanwhile, Suter is taking his time just like Parise because it's a big decision and he may maximize and already frenzied market because teams that lose on Parise may be willing to spend more on him.

Once Parise signs, the action on the Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan trades will heat up quickly. At this point, nothing much is happening on either front.

Salvador, 36, turned away from offers from six other NHL teams. He signed for three years and a total of $9.5-million (all currency U.S.), which carries a salary-cap hit of $3.16-million.

The contract was a reward for Salvador's excellent post-season, in which he was the Devils' best defenceman. After managing just nine points in 82 regular-season games, Salvador had 14 points in 24 playoff games.

Johnson, 24, signed with the Avalanche for four years and $15-million, which works out to a reasonable cap hit of $3.75-million if he continues his offensive development. The Avalanche got him in a trade with the St. Louis Blues and his initial work for the team was disappointing but he was better last season with 26 points, his best campaign since he posted 39 in 2008-09 with the Blues.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More


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