Zach Parise Sweepstakes in full throttle

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 05: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a glove save as teammate Brooks Orpik #44 and Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils look for the rebound at Prudential Center on February 5, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

What we do know: the Pittsburgh Penguins have made a very large bid for the services of free agent winger Zach Parise. So have many teams. Parise has been considering his options, has whittled away some would-be contenders.

Which teams remain, and exactly whom is the front-runners remains to be seen. Michael Russo, the excellent beat reporter in Minnesota, believes it's down to the Wild and Penguins. EJ Hradek, a plugged in and respected insider, said recently that the New Jersey Devils are not out of the mix by any means. Pens writer Rob Rossi has tweeted several times that the Penguins are comfortable with their offer and relatively happy with how well it went over.

Now...we wait. Reports will fly out, many will be contradictorary in nature. Most reports, if you'd believe them, seem to hint that Minnesota and the Philadelphia Flyers have offered the most money. There hasn't been much mention at all of the Detroit Red Wings (which probably should be scary). The Penguins, it is believed, are willing to give Parise the large signing bonus that he wants in early years of the contract. But, undoubtedly, their offer isn't the most financially attractive.

There's no telling how long this could be. Russo just said nothing is imminent. Both Parise, and Ryan Suter, are taking their time, mulling over the offer. And for good reason- where they sign this contract will determine the place they spend the next 8-10+ years of their lives, including the most important part of their professional lives. They also have family considerations to take into account. It's reasonable that they are thinking things over to make an informed decision and one they'll be comfortable with.

Even if it makes fans of all of these teams uncomfortable and hanging on the every word of information that gets released.

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