Wild Waive Parrish Goodbye; Russia Looms Large

Wow. I’m surprised Mark Parrish was released by the Wild with three years left on his contract. The Wild were too close to the cap to keep him, though. And it didn’t help that Parrish didn’t always get along with coach Jacques Lemaire.
Still, Parrish is a Minnesota native and I thought that, if nothing else, would keep him around. His salary wasn’t insane and he’s a talented, if not explosive, forward. He was injured a lot in Minnesota, but I never got the impression that it was a permanent situation.
The Wild have to be banking on someone claiming Parrish. Otherwise they take a cap hit on his buyout, which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole thing.
We’re going to see more and more moves like this as more and more NHL teams get into cap trouble. According to this chart, five teams are already over the cap. Imagine what it’ll be like after another summer of crazy signings.
Also, the NHL (and even the NBA) really should think about the implications of players opting to play in Russia rather than in North America. Russia is putting a lot of time and money into its national sports programs. It’s possible Russia will once again surpass North America in terms of training, meaning the best players might not be in the NBA or NHL, but in Russia (don’t forget the Soviet Union’s sports dominance occurred at a time when there were no professional leagues; the best players all worked for the Soviet national teams). Meaning that if you’re a talented athlete and you want to play against the best players in the world, are you going to play under a salary cap against great players or without a cap against the best players? Obviously, this isn’t an urgent matter, but something both leagues need to start planning for. It’s not enough for the NHL to rest on its prestige. If it can’t compete on salary, the league needs to make sure it can compete with talent.
And yeah. It would have been neat if I could have used this space to say Mark Parrish will play in Russia next season, but he’s not, so I can’t, so let’s just not speak of it.