Former Wild forward Zach Parise is now a confirmed member of the Islanders as he was speaking with the media on Friday about his deal. After four seasons with the Wild organization, the 37-year-old was bought out of his 13-year, $98 million contract ($7.54 million average annual value) and joins the Islanders after two strong playoff runs, one where they made the Eastern Conference Final and another the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
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As for leaving Minnesota, he said he loved the team and the city but said it was hard to put on a smile every day and come to work when you have this feeling like you’re not being utilized and you feel as though you’re being pushed out. He said he didn’t understand the grand plan of the team while he was in the situation, but having stepped back and seeing it now, he gets why things went down the way they did.
He noted that he and his family had just moved into a new house in Minnesota so he had no desire to leave but he noted, “It kind of felt like the writing was on the wall. He said, “Just the way I was being used, it just felt like something was going to happen and had a feeling like he might be playing somewhere else next season. He added, “Without getting into too much detail, I thought I was (joining the Islanders) a couple of years ago at the deadline. Now it’s become real life and I’m excited about it.”
Where Does Parise Fit on the Islanders’ Roster?
Parise projects to be a bottom-six player on the Islanders roster, but he scored 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 45 games last season so he still has the ability to produce offense. He had 400 points (199 goals, 201 assists) in 558 regular-season games for the Wild and while he didn’t get a lot of opportunities last year, when he did, he played fairly well.
He ranks third all-time for Minnesota in goals and points, seventh in games played and eighth in assists, and is the Wild’s postseason leader with 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) in 44 games. He should help on the Islanders’ powerplay, as well as stabilize J.G. Pageau’s line. In a way, he’ll come in and bring a bit of what departed when Jordan Eberle was selected by the Seattle Kraken.
“I’m looking forward to the change, a fresh start,” Parise said. “I have a great mindset right now. I haven’t been this excited heading into a new season in a while. It’s good. I had been here for a long time and sometimes a change of scenery is good.”
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