Parise to Pens would be Flyers' worst nightmare

Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby have been close friends for several years. (Matt Slocum/AP)

For the Flyers, the bad news coming out of Pittsburgh on Thursday was that superstar Sidney Crosby had signed a 12-year, $104.4 million extension, a cap hit of $8.7 million _ the same as this season.

It’s bad news because Crosby, arguably the NHL’s best player when healthy, probably could have gotten a shorter deal....which would have caused a higher cap hit per season.

By stretching out the contract, the Penguins have plenty of cap space for some moves, and it appears they will not be outbid for the best free agent on the free-agent market, Devils left winger Zach Parise.

You know, the guy the Flyers (and many others) covet.

Crosby and Parise have been close friends for several years. Crosby even shared a suite with Parise’s family at the Stanley Cup Finals.

If you connect the dots, it seems a good bet that they will be on the same line together next season.

The Pens have $15 million in cap space _ and will probably clear more room by dealing defenseman Paul Martin. The defensive-challenged Penguins would also like to sign free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter.

The free-agent frenzy starts at noon on Sunday. After Parise, the list of free-agent wingers includes Alexander Semin, an expensive one-dimensional player; Shane Doan; P.A. Parenteau; and Jaromir Jagr.

Stay tuned.

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Now that defenseman Dennis Wideman has signed a five-year deal with Calgary with an anuual cap hit of $5.25, Matt Carle's price probably has gone up. The Flyers have insisted all along they expect to sign him.

We shall see.

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As expected, the cap for next season will rise to $70.2 million, up from $64.3 million. This will help spend-to-the-limit teams like the Flyers. And, remember, teams can exceed the cap by 10 percent in the summer.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.