Behind the Devils' Parise strategy 

June, 21, 2011

To many, "salary arbitration" is a dirty term. It brings to mind images of a player and his agent sitting across a table from a general manager, with barbs being tossed back and forth, while a league-appointed official tries to sort through the mess. But that is not what is happening with the New Jersey Devils and winger Zach Parise.

GM Lou Lamoriello knows what he's doing; you don't manage a team in the NHL for 24 years without learning a few tricks. Motivated solely by his team's financial situation, Lamoriello filed for team-elected arbitration with Parise. He knew it was the only way to buy himself time to sign Parise to a long-term contract without worrying about offer sheets from other teams, and to ensure the 26-year-old Parise wouldn't walk this summer.

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Lindsay Berra is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.