When the NY Islanders signed Zach Parise to a one-year deal last summer, it's hard to imagine they thought he would be the only Islander skater to play in all 82 games last season. Fast forward to the end of April and that's exactly what they got. After getting bought out by the Minnesota Wild, Parise signed with the Islanders for league minimum looking to prove he still had something left in the tank.
After a 25-goal campaign two seasons ago, Parise scored just seven goals in 45 games during the abbreviated 2020-21 season. Both he and Ryan Suter were bought out of their contracts by GM Bill Guerin who didn't see the two as part of the Wild's plan moving forward. Despite signing on with the Islanders at 37 years old, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello knew the quality of player he was getting for just $750K against the cap.
Not only did Parise play in all 82 games for the Islanders last season, but night in and night out he was one of their best, if not their best player on the ice. Parise still has good wheels and although he's not the 30-40 goal scorer he used to be, he can still be relied on to put the puck in the back of the net. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native notched 15 goals and 20 assists in a third-line role. He likely should have had more, too, but was snake bitten to start the season much like the rest of the roster.
Parise skated most of the season on the Islanders' third line with J.G. Pageau, but when things went south for the whole roster, Parise was paired with Mathew Barzal in the lineup shake-up the two found some chemistry. Having a history of being effective on the power play, Parise also skated on the Islanders' second power-play unit.
Parise was awarded another one-year contract to remain with the Islanders in 2022-23 following the 2022 NHL trade deadline, the exact same contract he signed last summer with Lamoriello. He's projected for a third-line role again next to Pageau. His competition going into training camp appears to be Kieffer Bellows who is aiming to solidify himself as an NHL regular for the first time in his career. If and when Parise slots into the lineup on October 13th against the Florida Panthers, if he's not inked next to Pageau, he could find himself back on Barzal's line, too.
Lamoriello stated he believes the Islanders possess the right line-mates to pair with Barzal. It might not be the ideal running mate to have paired with the Islanders' No.1 center, but there's no questioning Parise's ability to keep pace and his compete level.
"I feel very comfortable that we have the players here that can complement Mat and Mat complement them. "- Lou Lamoriello
Wherever he plays in the lineup, a repeat performance from Parise is more than enough. Not many expected him to come to the Islanders and play as well as he did, and the raw statistics honestly don't reflect just how good he was. 15-30 goals and 30-40 points at $750K against the salary cap is a steal, and Parise showed now signs of slowing down last season, therefore one can realistically expect a similar performance in 2022-23.