So it begins.

The New Jersey Devils on Friday filed for arbitration with restricted free agent left wing, Zach Parise. The only question will, of course, be salary. Zach wants more than what New Jersey is willing to give right now, in part due to the Kovalchuck signing and Lamoriello’s negotiating style.

Let’s face it, Lou probably doesn’t have owner Jeff Vanderbeek demanding to sign Parise with a “whatever it takes” at the end of that sentence (like Vanderbeek did with Ilya Kovalchuk) and Lamoriello has his sights on the end of the 2011-2012 season where he will lose Brian Rolston and Marty Brodeur’s contracts, which total over $10 million. He would then have the necessary cap room to sign Parise, although it will be interesting to see how he will then deal with his 7 forwards who, two seasons from now, will either be a UFA or RFA. From that list, we know Elias will not be resigned but as for the rest of them…have fun Lou…unless of course the new CBA bails your butt out.

Assuming Zach and Lou Lamoriello are unable to work out a deal before arbitration, Zach would receive a salary award that would keep him on Satan’s team for only one more season. After that, absent an extension, he is a UFA…

…One moment while I lick my chops.

Parise, 27 years old, is a super star. However, his injury and right knee surgery limited him to 12 games this past season and you can rest assured Lou Lamoriello will use that to argue for a lower salary. If the award is low enough (the floor of $4.25 million), Lamoriello will be in good shape and chances are Parise, if he wants to stay in the armpit, will then be signed long term.

Personally, I hope he gets at least a $6-7 million dollar award. Lamoriello only has about $7.2 million in cap room before the cap raise and such a salary would hurt more, especially if Lamoriello has any intention of any more signings for the coming season or the one thereafter.

Bottom line, Lamoriello wants cap flexibility and a big award to Parise would take that away from him.

Would the Devil free Parise’s soul through a trade (read: possibly to our Kings) if such a fair (read: big) award came down? Hard to say. My instincts say no. My instincts also say if Parise did get a nice bump in salary, Lou may often use his lord Vanderbeek’s name in vain.