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Devils sign forward Parise to 4-year, $12.5 million deal @NHLdotcom

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -The New Jersey Devils signed forward Zach Parise to a four-year, $12.5 million deal on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Parise was New Jersey's second-leading scorer last season behind Patrik Elias with 31 goals and 31 assists and was third on the team with nine power-play goals.

He also had seven goals and three assists in 11 playoff games.

"I'm excited, it's definitely a weight off my shoulders so I don't have to worry about it and can just relax and get ready for the season," he said.

The Devils' first-round pick in the 2003 draft came on strong after finishing his rookie season with 18 goals and 14 assists.

"I'm hoping to take on more responsibility like I did last year and be put in different situations and opportunities," Parise said. "I'd like to take another step in gaining that respect on the ice."

New Jersey will need Parise to continue his development after losing forward Scott Gomez to the New York Rangers in free agency.

"Scott Gomez is a tough guy to replace and we're going to miss him," Parise said. "He was a great player and a great guy in the locker room. But that's the way the game goes, you've got to move on and work with what we have. We're still going to be right there, we're still going to be competitive."

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