Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just Tweeted that the Penguins are officially out of the running for star forward Zach Parise.

While the Penguins were considered an early favorite to land Parise due to an abundance of cap space, a willingness to spend, and a friendship between Parise and Sidney Crosby, recent developments are pointing to a return home for the winger.

As I discussed earlier this morning, indications are that Parise and fellow free agent Ryan Suter appear to be headed to Minnesota to sign with the Wild as a tandem.

Suter, it should be noted, just announced his signing with the Wild.

Additionally, there is no word on a backup plan for Penguins general manager Ray Shero, who freed up significant cap space by trading forward Jordan Staal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek during the first round of the NHL Entry Draft.

The remaining free agent crop is extremely weak, as noted by James Mirtle, and the Penguins don’t seem to have the assets to acquire the likes of Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan.

If history is any indication, however, Shero won’t let his cap space go to waste and could opt to trade one or several of his highly-touted defense prospects for an upgrade at wing.

He is best known, after all, for his acquisitions of wingers Chris Kunitz and James Neal by means of trading defensemen with significant potential.