Ryan Suter and Zach Parise chose to take time to sort through offers from a slew of suitors on the first day of NHL free agency.
“I don’t expect a quick decision,” Suter’s agent, Neil Sheehy, wrote in an email Sunday to The Associated Press.
P.A. Parenteau, meanwhile, was among the many NHL free agents to agree to deals Sunday. Parenteau, a 29-year-old forward coming off a 67-point season with the New York Islanders, signed a four-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche just hours after hitting the market.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock traveled to Toronto to be part of the franchise’s planned pitch to Parise, the top forward available, and the agency that represents him.
“We’re going to get in the mix with him and see what we can do,” Babcock told The AP in a telephone interview minutes after teams could begin talks with free agents. “We’re going to do everything we can.”
The Red Wings, with about $18 million in cap space, are also expected to make an aggressive push to sign Suter, the best defenseman on the market.
Detroit, though, isn’t the only NHL team with a lot of money to spend in free agency.
The Minnesota Wild posted a message on the team’s Twitter account, announcing they submitted contract offers to Parise and Suter, within the first hour of free agency.
Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford confirmed he called agents for Parise and Suter to offer deals.
“We’re just playing a waiting game,” Rutherford said.
He’s not alone.
Teams will have to wait before simply finding out if they can have a face-to-face meeting with Suter.
Sheehy fielded “countless phone calls, emails and messages” from teams hoping to sign his coveted client. Sheey planned to respond to each team to gather more information before presenting options to Suter and deciding whether to meet with interested clubs.
New Jersey attempted to re-sign Parise and Nashville tried to keep Suter before they hit the market, but the Devils and Predators ended up being relegated to competing with other offers. Parise and Suter are both 27, potentially entering the prime of their careers.
Teams seeking a short-term answer in net may make offers to 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur, who, like Parise and Suter, has been with only one NHL team. The three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner has played for the Devils since the 1991-92 season.
The Dallas Stars determined another 40-year-old player, forward Ray Whitney, has enough left to give him a $9 million, two-year contract in the opening hours of free agency. He had 24 goals and 77 points last season for Phoenix and has 1,003 career points dating to his NHL debut two decades ago with the San Jose Sharks.
“Ray Whitney was among the most productive players in the league last season and showed he remains extremely capable and dangerous,” Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. “He’s a winner, a competitor and a leader, and we’re very excited he’ll be a Dallas Star.”
Florida agreed to a two-year deal with defenseman Filip Kuba, who is likely to replace free agent Jason Garrison on the Panthers’ blue line. The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings kept forward Dustin Penner with a one-year contract.
Shane Doan, Alexander Semin, Matt Carle, Olli Jokinen, Jaromir Jagr and Jiri Hudler are among the players who began the day on the market in the top-heavy free agent class of 2012.
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.
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