NY Islanders: Zach Parise has nothing left to prove

New York Rangers v New York Islanders
New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

New York Islanders fans have been not so patiently waiting to hear from GM Lou Lamoriello and Head Coach Lane Lambert, but they're not the only ones they are waiting to hear back from this summer. Zach Parise has a decision to make about his future.

The 38-year-old Parise scored 21 goals and appeared in all 82 games during his 18th NHL season. It was the second straight year where he did not miss a single game for the Isles and played every shift like it could be his last, and perhaps that's because he knew it could have been.

The 2003 first-round pick is mulling over whether to retire following a season that demonstrated that he can still contribute on a nightly basis for a caliber team. After being bought out by his hometown Minnesota Wild, Parise hoped to find joy and ice time and Long Island and was successful in achieving both. By all accounts, he has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the organization, the same one his father played for, and scored the franchise's first playoff OT winner in 1975.

Parise made the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils in 2012. After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in six games, Parise likely felt he would have another shot at winning at Cup when he left in free agency to Minnesota. It hasn't worked out that way, and a decade has passed without him getting as close as he did the first time he played for Lamoriello.

While the playoff success hasn't come, Parise showed he can still play, and the Islanders would be foolish not to want him back, given his versatility, worth ethic, and leadership. However, it's not just about hockey for Parise. His family has remained in Minnesota these last two seasons while he's played on the Island. We're all chasing that thing [the Stanley Cup]; it's a huge draw," said Parise on May 1st. "On the flip side, it's been tough being away from the family and being away from the kids the last couple of years. That's hard."

Parise said it would be "here [Long Island] or nowhere" when asked his thoughts on next season. If it ends up being nowhere, he can leave the game knowing that he proved to himself and the rest of the league that he could still play at a high level. His career would've ended without a Stanley Cup, but at least it would've been done on his own terms and his own timeline.