When the Minnesota Wild bought out Zach Parise, it felt as though the end of his career was near and that there wasn't much left in the tank for the Minneapolis, Minnesota native. It didn't surprise anyone to see Lou Lamoriello, the man who drafted Parise, reach out to the then 36-year-old in the summer of 2020 with a contract offer to join the NY Islanders. The Isles have had their woes over the last two seasons, however, Parise has been a bright spot on Long Island and seems to just get better as the days go on.
Through 27 games last season, Parise only tallied six points, scoring just one goal and adding five assists. He was more snakebitten, even unlucky at times, but one thing is for sure, he gave 100% on the ice every shift. Parise finished the 2021-22 season with 15 goals and 35 points, a points total that many were pleased with based on the fact that he was on a one-year, $750K contract.
Parise resigned for the same exact deal this summer returning to the Islanders for a second consecutive season. Through 27 games this year, he's already netted nine goals and 14 points, a little more than doubling his offensive output from last season in the same span. The 38-year-old forward is on pace for 27 goals and 43 points, and while on the same exact contract from last season, there's a fair argument to be made that he's one of the best bargains in the NHL in contrast to his cap hit.
According to NaturalStatTrick, Parise's 51.43 xGF% is a slow, yet steady increase from his 49.73 xGF% at 5on5 in 2021-22. It's worth noting that Parise is receiving almost a full minute more of ice time on average per game at 16:22 so far this season. However, his deployment hasn't been the same, skating the majority of the second half of last season alongside Mathew Barzal. This season, he's been producing in a decreased, third-line role centered by J.G. Pageau with a rotation of wingers on the right side.
Parise has been nothing short of consistent and has even continued to get a little better despite his increasing age. The Islanders are in much better position at the beginning of December than they were last season when seemingly nothing went right, and Parise's contributions thus far have been a factor in why the Islanders are toward the top of the standings.
"He just plays a consistent game every night,'' Islanders coach Lane Lambert said of the 38-year-old Parise, who hasn't missed a contest in his two seasons. "He really helps us with his play."