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While teams pursue Parise, Suter, others hard at work

Tuesday, 07.03.2012 / 8:09 PM / NHL Free Agency 2012

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The hockey world still is waiting for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to decide their futures. The wait will last at least one more day.

Parise told NHL.com via text on Tuesday that "nothing will happen tonight." He spent two days huddled with his agents in their office in Mississauga, Ont., before he and his fiancée flew back to Minnesota.

Parise reportedly is mulling contract offers from New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago. He has not set a deadline on when he will make a decision, and denied that returning to his home in Minnesota means he'll sign with the hometown Wild. “This is where I live. Either way, we’re coming back here,” Parise told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune as he waited for luggage at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Suter has spent the first few days of free agency on his farm in Wisconsin and is staying in contact with his Minnesota-based agent Neil Sheehy by phone. Many of the same teams that are in on Parise also are in on Suter, with some hoping to land both.

Sheehy reportedly is talking to all of the teams and relaying the information to Suter.

Sheehy told reporters Monday night that "there is no timetable for [Suter's] contract signing at this time. Ryan is considering his opportunities and is taking the necessary time to give each proper consideration." He also told Kevin Allen of USA Today on Tuesday that no decision is expected until Wednesday at the earliest.

Both Parise and Suter have not ruled out returning to their previous teams, New Jersey and Nashville, respectively. Parise has been in touch throughout the negotiation process with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello while Sheehy told The Tennessean that Nashville general manager David Poile has made a "very substantial offer" to keep Suter.

"It's being considered," Sheehy said.

Several teams' plans are on hold as they await the decisions by Parise and Suter.

For instance, Columbus is looking to trade captain Rick Nash, but it's possible that won't happen until Parise signs, because the teams that don't land him could be in the market for Nash. Anaheim and Bobby Ryan appear to be in a similar situation, but the Ducks haven't come out and said for sure that they are trading the right wing, who has scored at least 30 goals four times.

Suter's indecision could be holding up the market for defenseman Matt Carle, who is not going to command Suter money or term but arguably is the second-best defenseman still on the free-agent market. Carle is 27, has played deep into the playoffs and is a two-way, puck-moving blueliner.

A couple of players did find new homes on Tuesday, while two others opted to stay where they were.

Dallas brought Jaromir Jagr to Texas with a one-year, $4.5 million contract. Jagr, the eighth-leading scorer in NHL history, had 19 goals and 54 points for Philadelphia this past season.

Despite Jagr's age, GM Joe Nieuwendyk has no doubt he still has plenty left.

"I don't think there's any question he has game in the tank. He had a terrific season with Philadelphia," Nieuwendyk said. "He's still a world-class player. For us to be able to bring a guy like that to our franchise is a big deal.

"Even at 40, he's still a difficult guy to contain. He's still as good as anyone in the League at using that big body down low. He keeps himself in tremendous shape. He knows how much he needs to play in order to be successful and how much is too much. I think he's going to be a really good fit with our group."

The New York Rangers added a solid bottom-six forward by signing Taylor Pyatt to a two-year contract worth $3.1 million. Pyatt spent the last three seasons with Phoenix, helping the Coyotes to the Western Conference Finals this spring.

If Parise returns to New Jersey, he'll see some familiar faces -- one day after the Devils re-signed goaltender Martin Brodeur, they did the same with veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador, who got a three-year deal worth $9.5 million.

Another player who stayed with his team was defenseman Eric Johnson. The Colorado Avalanche retained Johnson, the first player chosen in the 2006 NHL Draft, with a four-year contract reportedly worth $15 million, an average annual value of of $3.75 million.

Tuesday's activity marked a slowdown after a hectic Monday.

Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin was able to secure Carey Price for the long term, signing the restricted free agent goalie to a six-year, $39 million contract.

"I think Carey brings what we need moving forward," Bergevin said. "He's a top, young goalie in the League. Having him in net for the next six years gives us a chance to be competitive."

Winnipeg filled a position of need by signing veteran center Olli Jokinen to a two-year, $9 million contract. Jokinen had 61 points on 23 goals and a team-high 38 assists in 82 games with the Flames this past season.

Bryan Little was the Jets' highest-producing center in 2011-12 with 46 points.

"He's got the size, a tremendous amount of experience," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said of Jokinen. "He had great consistency over the years. With adding the size of (Alexei) Ponikarovsky and now Jokinen, we're a bigger and harder team to play against."

Calgary general manager Jay Feaster continued to make headlines by signing ex-Detroit forward Jiri Hudler to a four-year, $16 million contract. Hudler had a career-best 25 goals for the Red Wings last season and has spent his entire NHL career in Detroit, with a one-year layover in the KHL.

Feaster has spent more than $53 million in free agency by signing Hudler and defensemanDennis Wideman, and re-signing forwardsLee Stempniak, Blake Comeau and Blair Jones, plus defenseman Corey Sarich. The six contracts total a $15.65 million cap hit for 2012-13.

"Jiri does have a personality, and that, I think, is the biggest issue in terms of our room," Feaster said. "Over the last few years, our room has been kind of a quiet room. We want more personality. I don't want just plain vanilla. That's something I think these acquisitions have been good for."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild