The New York Islanders wanted Zach Parise back at some point during the season, but they didn't live up to their end of the bargain to make that happen. On Friday, Parise signed a one-year contract for the remainder of the season with the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are 32-14-3, lead the Central Division with 67 points, and are a lock to make the postseason.
According to Andrew Fantucchio of NYIHockeyNow, JG Pageau said that some of the Islanders dined with Parise when the team was in Minnesota and had no idea he was close to signing. The Islanders played arguably their worst game of the season against the Wild and would finish their four-game road trip with an O.T. loss to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks.
GM Lou Lamoriello replaced Lane Lambert with Patrick Roy one day later and while there is enthusiasm with Roy behind the bench, a new coach implementing a new season for a team currently outside of the playoff picture is not exactly an ideal situation for a veteran chasing a Stanley Cup.
On May 1st, Parise said it would likely be "here or nowhere" when referring to Long Island and where he would play if he put off retirement for a 19th NHL season. In September, Lamoriello shared that Parise would not be starting the season with the Islanders or any other NHL team but that the door would remain open for him to return when he was ready.
“He knows his time is ticking, and Colorado is a front-runner to win the Cup, so I wish that we had done a better job to allow him to come here," said Mathew Barzal in amNY, who humorously pleaded for Parise to come back during training camp.
"I’m sure if we had won eight of the games that we probably could’ve this year and we were 15, 16, even 10 points ahead of where we were at today, I’m sure he would’ve been in blue and orange, but he has to make a decision for himself," Barzal added.
You can't blame Parise for making the decision to sign with the Avs, the 2021-22 Stanley Cup champions and one of the quickest and explosive teams in the league with all the talent to make another deep playoff run in the Western Conference. However, the Islanders can blame themselves for not being an attractive enough destination for Parise for the remainder of the season.