NEWARK, N.J. -- That big sigh of relief you heard Friday was from New Jersey Devils management after re-signing star left-winger Zach Parise to a one-year contract.
The deal, reportedly worth $6 million US, comes just days before Wednesday's scheduled arbitration hearing.
The Devils say they are continuing to work on a long-term deal for the 27-year-old Parise, who has scored 163 goals in 420 career games.
"I think, by avoiding arbitration, we can come out with something both parties agree with just four days before the arbitration hearing,'' Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters on Friday. "It just sets the platform where both parties are going in the same direction.''
Lamoriello called the one-year deal "the best option'' at this time.
"If (a long-term deal) was something that could have been done, it would have been done," Lamoriello said.
The Devils had filed for arbitration with Parise in June.
The one-year deal means Parise can become an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming season.
Parise scored three goals while playing in only 13 games last season because of a knee injury that required surgery. He earned $5 million last season.
Danton signs in Sweden
MIKE DANTON'S professional hockey career is resuming a long way from the NHL.
The 30-year-old forward is joining Swedish team IFK Ore, which plays in the third tier of the country's pro system. General manager Jens Nielsen confirmed the Danton signing to The Canadian Press on Friday, but declined further comment.
Danton spent the past two seasons with the Saint Mary's Huskies in Canadian university hockey after serving five years in a U.S. prison for a failed murder-for-hire plot. The former NHLer tweeted about his move on Thursday night: "Just signed my first pro contract in eight years. I'm off to Sweden for the 2011-2012 season. Thanks to everyone for their support."
IFK Ore is based in the small village of Furudal, which is a little over 300 kilometres north of Stockholm. The team plays out of the 32-year-old Furudals Hockeycenter, which has a capacity of 796. It averaged 169 fans per game last season. Players in Sweden's Division 1 -- which is below the Elitserien and Hockeyallsvenskan -- earn modest wages and sometimes hold other jobs. The top player on each team is typically paid around 20,000 Swedish Kronar (C$3,050) per month.
Terms of Danton's contract were unavailable. However, Nielsen told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that it was a "great deal" for the team and expressed hope that Danton will be a role model for the younger players. He's not concerned about the player's past.
"Of course we have discussed his past, but you can't judge someone for life," Nielsen told Svenska Dagbladet. "What's done is done, and now he seems eager to get away from North America and find the calm here."
Danton's time at Saint Mary's was a success. He enrolled in psychology at the Halifax university a few months after getting released from prison and was named an academic all-Canadian because of a straight-A average.
-- from the news services