While the loss of captain Zach Parise via free agency was tough to take, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer is confident his group can pick up where it left off last season.
The Minneapolis-born Parise agreed to a 13-year, $98 million deal with the Minnesota Wild on July 4. The contract will keep the 27-year-old in his home state until age 40. He had spent his first seven seasons in the League with the Devils.
"Your initial reaction is disappointment," DeBoer said. "You're happy for Zach in that he got rewarded with the contract he did, and you can see his excitement and happiness in being able to go home and play in front of his parents and family."
Parise had 31 goals and 69 points in 82 regular-season games last season, his first as captain. He was sixth in the League in playoff scoring with 15 points, including eight goals, in 24 postseason contests. The Devils dropped a six-game series to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
"In our end, it's disappointment in not having the opportunity to continue to work with him," DeBoer said. "He's such a great kid and he stands for all the right things. He was obviously an important part of our team, but this League allows you to feel sorry for yourself for about two minutes and then you have to pick yourself up and come up with a plan moving forward. I think that's where we're at now ... moving forward."
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