Yzerman set the bar on hanging on for the last couple years. he played his last 4 or 5 years at less than 2 million. Add in a little inflation and the number is 3 million. The part every forgets is, to get someone good, you have to give someone good. There is also a salary cap. I know may are hot to trot over parise, but I am not one of them. he is another small forward, which we have a bunch of. the days of a team full of 5-11/180 players is over. yes a few are needed and can be successfull. But overall the average size is closer to 6-2/205. We have 3 forwards that are that size or bigger. 1 is old Burt, 1 disappears-Franzen, and 1 is very young Abelkater.
yes moving Zetterberg or datsyk will cause riots int he streets. I get that. But where will they be in 3 years? Old broken and with no trade value.
Yzerman was also damaged goods at that point, playing on one knee. He missed significant playing time each of those years with injury problems, and didn't pot more than 52 points since the 2000-2001 year. Yes he took a paycut, but its hardly equivalent to Lidstrom taking 3M/year to play, who is still quite healthy, quite effective, and even including the lost step he has endured with age, is still an elite defensman in the league.
I also have to disagree with you assessment of Parise: You are correct in labeling him as a small forward, but he is effective and gritty in the corners, and plays harder and more tenacious on the puck/body than the majority of our current roster. He isn't going to steamroll Weber, but he will make his presence felt given the opportunity. Keep an eye on him in the playoffs if you get the chance.
On our core: Datsyuk is currently 33, which isn't fresh but I wouldn't consider him "old" either. He's nearing the end of his prime, but he is certainly still there. I really don't get the desire to move perhaps the most effective two-way player in the game right now (and frankly the most effective two-way player I have ever seen, in any hockey era). Zetterberg isn't far behind him, and while he had terrible first-half numbers, it was revealed he was injured and really stepped it up in the second half. Z is younger, also in his prime, and still quite effective. Lidstrom is old, but still effective. Homer is also old, so is Bert, and none of them will be around much longer. Darren Helm is young and energetic, Abdelkader is a solid shut-down centerman who's backcheck and defensive game are quite underrated. Also young. Filppula is south of 30. Hudler is south of 30. Jimmy Howard is south of 30. Emmerton, Ericsson, Miller, Eaves, Quincey, White and many others are younger than 30. I don't know that its fair to say that we're an old team anymore. We're the youngest we've been in over a decade.