While the Stanley Cup Playoffs march on the New York Islanders are working behind the scenes on next year's squad. The Isles have their fingers crossed that Zach Parise returns next season.
Parise who turns 39 over the summer is coming off a really good season despite the fact he was held pointless in the six-game series versus the Carolina Hurricanes. Parise played in all 82 regular season games putting up 21 Goals, 34 Points and was +7. He was a strong wingman on J.G. Pageau's line.
Now that Parise's second one-year contract with the Isles has ended he is faced with the decision to come back to the Isles or retire. On locker clean-out day Parise said, "It's here or nowhere".
Parise does fit in well with this Islander squad both on the ice and in the locker room. He also has a great affinity for playing for a Lou Lamoriello team.
Isles Need Him Back
There are several reasons why the blue and orange need Parise back. Despite being in his late 30s Parise has given the Islanders great production over the last two years in his role. No reason to think that if he comes back for the 2023-24 season he can't do that again.
There are no strong internal candidates in the pipeline ready to take Parise's spot at this time. The Isles are hoping that will be a different case come this time next year with youngsters William Dufour and Matthew Maggio developing in Bridgeport.
If Parise retires the most logical internal candidate would be Simon Holmstrom. Holmstrom had some moments last year but at the end of the day, he had six goals, nine points, along with -4 in 50 games.
Finally, there is the salary cap. Given that Parise is still being paid by the Minnesota Wild if he comes back it will be for a veteran league minimum of around 750K. Given the Isles don't have a ton of cap space that's a Home Run. Replacing Parise via the unrestricted free-agent market would eat away a good chunk of the Isles' cap space. The Isles need to use that cap space to try and bring a puck-moving defenseman to the roster.
It's pretty clear why Lamoriello and the Isles are hoping that Parise returns to Long Island for the 2023-24 season.