The NY Islanders have been adding players to the roster out of necessity of late - but news yesterday regarding Zach Parise’s potential return could see the organization adding another player from a position of strength.
"He’s ramping up his training right now at home in Minnesota, with an eye on returning for that 19th season," said TSN’s Mike Johnston Thursday on Insider Trading. "And I think where this gets interesting is that the Islanders have kept the door open to Zach Parise. They wanted to bring him back for a third season this year. But in the meantime here, you’ve got other teams, and some teams with a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup, that have entered the picture and expressed some interest in him.”
Parise posted 21 goals and 13 assists last season, building strong chemistry with JG Pageau on the Isles' third line. However, if Lou Lamoriello were to add Parise to the current roster, it would involve some lineup shuffling within a group that seems to be clicking right now.
Matt Martin was placed on IR once again on Tuesday, with no timetable for a potential return. Skating in his place has been Hudson Fasching, with Julien Gauthier skating on the third line with Pageau and Simon Holmstrom.
The addition of Gauthier to that line has added an element of speed it was previously missing as he begins to settle into an everyday role. Fasching seems to have found a home on the fourth line, with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck playing most effectively in that role.
Though they’ve been solid additions to the team, with Gauthier seemingly following Fasching’s footsteps from a year ago, Fasching and Gauthier, despite their contributions, have seen the least ice-time per game on the team, averaging 11:59 and 10:32, respectively.
With the emergence of Holmstrom and a possible Parise return, it would be assumed those two would be playing with Pageau, leaving Martin, Gauthier, Fasching, and Oliver Wahlstrom vying for the final spot on the fourth line. Wahlstrom appears to have fallen out of favor, and with Martin potentially out for an undisclosed amount of time, it leaves Gauthier and Fasching to fight it out. Both bring distinct elements to the lineup and could be rotated depending on matchups.
Bringing Parise back into the lineup would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the makeup of the team, but it would surely be welcomed.