Zach Parise is ready to make his NHL return, but it won't be with the NY Islanders. The Colorado Avalanche have announced they've signed the 39-year-old through the end of the season. Agreeing to a contract worth $825k, Parise will earn a pro-rated amount of $360,938 through season's end.
It was reported a month ago that Parise was training hard back at his home in Minnesota, potentially preparing for a return to the NHL. If he were to return, it was believed to be back with the Islanders. After the Isles were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in six games in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Parise himself believed if he played again, it would be with the Isles. “I think it would be here or nowhere.”
Parise played two seasons on Long Island, never missing a game, totaling 69 points, including a 20-goal performance last season. He became a staple on the third line alongside JG Pageau and was a key contributor on the power play and penalty kill.
Without a Stanley Cup ring in his 18-year career, Parise is still chasing the game's top prize and sees the Avalanche as his best opportunity to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
The Avs, just two seasons removed from their most recent Stanley Cup, sit tied with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division with 68 points. They're once again considered a favorite to take home Lord Stanley's Cup once again, as superstar Nathan MacKinnon is having a Hart Trophy-worthy season.
On the other hand, the Isles are struggling to stay afloat in the Metro Division, sitting in seventh in terms of point percentage.
The Isles will fight to make it into the playoffs again, while the Avs are essentially a lock to play into late April. While it's a knock to the Isles, as Parise would certainly retain his role and be a critical cog within the lineup, it doesn't seem reasonable on his end to return to the Island.