This isn't a dig at Zach Parise. The New York Islanders veteran forward has been undeniably excellent this year. His play has been consistently strong from Game 1 through to Game 42 against the Flames the other day.
Sure, Zach Parise's production doesn't lead the team. His 15 points in 42 games put him on pace to finish the year with 29 points. But with a league minimum contract getting almost 30 points from Parise is perfectly fine.
New York Islanders Zach Parise unbelievably team's best player
What makes Parise the "best player" on the team isn't his production but his consistent effort. On a team that seems to fade in and out of games, the one constant is Parise. Forechecking, back-checking, creating scoring opportunities, breaking up opportunities in the D-zone, smart plays through the neutral zone.
All of that was perfectly on display in Calgary on Saturday night. The veteran was easily the Islanders best player on the ice. It wasn't even close. And that's been the case for just about every game this year.
And while that's excellent and obviously great value to get from a league-minimum deal, it's a problem that Parise is the team's best player for just that reason. Parise wasn't brought in to lead this team, he was brought in to add to this group. To be a complimentary piece.
Guys like Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, and Brock Nelson are supposed to be leading the way. Not just on the score sheet but in terms of their compete level. They should be the ones described as "the one constant" on the year. Not a guy who's coming in on a league minimum deal.
I probably don't have to tell you this, but that's why the Islanders are where they are. Their core isn't pulling their weight.
I'm thrilled at what Zach Parise has done since he arrived on the Island. He's been an exemplary player. But it's unbeleivable that he's the team's best player.