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Islanders: Zach Parise can have biggest bounce-back season in 2022

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 06: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild in action during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 06, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Wild 5-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 06: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild in action during the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 06, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Wild 5-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders have unofficially signed Zach Parise (Parise confirmed it but the team hasn’t yet). We still don’t know how long the contract is for and we don’t yet know how much that contract is for. Eventually, we’ll know, but or know we’re still not sure.

What we do know is that Zach Parise had a down year in 2020-21. With 18 points in 45 games, he was on pace for 33 points through an 82 game season. He hasn’t had that poor of a season since 2005-06, his rookie year.

At 37-years-old, can this be a sign of the decline for Parise? Perhaps, but I don’t think so at all.

New York Islanders Zach Parise will have a bounce-back year

That 18 points (a 33 point pace) on its own is fine when you think about it. Last year the Islanders ran a combination of Kieffer Bellows, Leo Komarov, Ross Johnston, and Michael Dal Colle as their 3LW. That quartet combined for 16 points…in 85 games. Parise was wildly more productive than all four, in what was a down year.

So, already, Parise is a massive upgrade for the Islanders third-line role. But can Parise be even better than he showed in that down year? I really think so.

According to NaturalStatTrick, Parise was more productive than he was two seasons ago when he put up 25 goals and 46 points in 69 games, a 55 point pace. With 11:57 of 5on5 time, he was on for 1.75 points-per-60 and that’s spending most of the year with Nick Bjugstad and Nick Bonino.

(No offense to either of them, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom – both are likely to sit on the third line with Parise in 2021-22 – are much better linemates than Bjugstad and Bonino.)

Now consider the extra ice-time Parise will receive with the Islanders. Last year he averaged 11:27 of 5on5 TOI per game with the Wild, Kyle Palmieri, who occupied that 3LW role last year for the Islanders averaged just over 14 minutes of 5on5 ice-time.

We already know that Parise didn’t “lose a step” last year. And we know he’ll be playing with better linemates. Already you can see that the narrative is setting itself up for a resurgent Parise in 2021-22.

There’s no doubt that Parise will have a better year in 2021-22. But, even if he doesn’t, he’s already a better option than the players the Isles had in that 3LW spot last year. Picking up Parise for what should be close to a league-minimum deal (laced with incentives) is a win-win.

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