Avoiding a potentially polarizing salary arbitration case, the Devils and star winger Zach Parise agreed last night to a one-year contract at what is believed to be $6 million.

"Knowing that nothing was going to get done long-term right now, this gives us a springboard for further negotiations," general manager Lou Lamoriello said.

The agreement came just one day after the Devils shed some $3 million in salary cap hit by trading Brian Rolston to the Islanders for Trent Hunter.

"There was no question that [Parise] was going to get a one-year contract, and settling it where both parties feel good about it is a platform to get something longer done," Lamoriello said.

The first Devil to score 30 or more goals in four straight seasons, Parise earned $5 million last year, a balloon after several seasons of being relatively underpaid. He had knee cartilage repair Nov. 2 after playing only 12 games (3-3-6), and played only one more the rest of the season.

The Devils could have offered Parise a pay cut to $4.25 million in arbitration, which likely would not have sat well with the 2003 first-rounder, who turned 27 on Thursday.