Minnesota Wild: 2018-19 Season Preview of Zach Parise

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 15: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild blocks a shot against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 15, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 15: Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild blocks a shot against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Xcel Energy Center on April 15, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

We’re under 2 weeks before the Minnesota Wild preseason gets underway. With 11 days remaining, that means Zach Parise is next up on the countdown.

6 years into a blockbuster 13 year contract between Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild, it would be fair to say that the results are lacklustre at best. 6 playoff appearances, 4 first-round eliminations, and more injuries than could be counted on one hand have left Parise’s deal as questionable.


Parise is not unknown to Minnesota Wild fans, given his history in the league both with and before arriving to the State of Hockey. The former 1st round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2003 played his midget hockey at Shattuck-St.Mary’s in Faribault and his college hockey nearby at the University of North Dakota.

Parise was born to be a star, as it is well documented that his father J.P. Parise was a star for the Minnesota North Stars back in his own day. Zach was born and raised in the State of Hockey, and averaged more than 70 goals and 170 points per season through his 2 seasons in Shattuck-St.Mary’s.

His first year at North Dakota was more of the same, as Zach recorded 26 goals and 61 points through 39 games, earning himself a ranking as the 9th best North American skater in the draft. The Edmonton Oilers actually traded away the 17th pick to New Jersey, allowing the Devils to select Parise instead.

"NHL Central Scouting Rank: 9th among North American skaters Another prospect with an NHL pedigree, he’s the son of former Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders winger J.P. Parise. Moved up two spots to finish the season as the ninth-ranked North American skater. Was the only freshman nominated for the Hobey Baker Award after recording three hat tricks, including one in his NCAA debut. He also led the U.S. team in scoring with four goals and four assists in seven games at the World Junior Championships. He lacks size, but so did his father, who made up for it with a tireless work ethic. Some scouts believe he’s one of the best prospects to come out of college in years. “He’s really got it all,” North Dakota coach Dean Blais said. “He’s quick, got great puck skills, he scores, he fights his way to the net, he finds a way to get his points.”"

Following the draft, Parise returned to North Dakota for his sophomore season at UND. Along with his brother Jordan Parise, they led the Fighting Sioux to the WCHA Championship. Zach provided another 55 points through 37 games, was recognized throughout the WCHA as an outstanding player, and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA hockey athlete.

Zach chose to go pro, rather than finish his final 2 collegiate years, and spent the 2004-05 NHL Lockout in the AHL, where he continued to excel. He accumulated 58 points through 73 games, and was named an AHL All-Star despite being on one of the worst teams in the AHL.

Zach made an immediate impact in New Jersey, the following season, by scoring his first NHL goal in his first game. He only missed a single game in his rookie season, totalling 32 points. He also got his first taste of playoff hockey, going into the second round and scoring his first playoff goal.

The following 6 years in New Jersey saw an extremely durable Parise miss more than one game in only one season (2010-11 when he only played 13 games due to knee surgery), and a reliable scorer as he recorded more than 30 goals and 60 points in all of his healthy seasons.

Parise led his New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in the final year of his contract, alongside Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils lost to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6, which was the last game played by Zach in New Jersey.

Rumors were swirling throughout the playoffs about the future of Parise, with no contract in place everyone was speculating where he would go. July 4, 2012 is the date ingrained in the minds of Minnesota Wild fans, as the day Parise and Ryan Suter signed their matching 13 year $98 Million contracts to play together close to their respective hometowns.

Parise’s first season in Minnesota got off to a strong start, with 32 points in 48 games during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. He led the Minnesota Wild back to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, and showed signs of a bright future.

Then, his durability broke down, and the year’s since have been marred with injuries. Even when Parise is playing, he seems to be playing through injuries more often than not. A broken foot, a concussion, a sprained MCL, a back injury, and then a fractured sternum have all been responsible for missed time since arriving in Minnesota.

Season Preview

Despite injuries, when Parise is on the ice you always know he is one of the best players on the ice. This season should be no different. Zach recently said in an interview with ESPN that he feels like he’s healthy and his body is ready to go for a full 82 games.

An 82 game season from Parise would be a great start to a deep playoff run for the Minnesota Wild. Lining up on what is now the second line, alongside Mikko Koivu and often Mikael Granlund, Parise looked like he was back to himself last season after returning from his back injury.

In the playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets, Parise was the most importantly player on the ice up until his injury removed him from the picture. Parise finished with 3 goals through 3 games, and likely could have made a difference to push the series beyond 5 games since the Wild did not score another goal in the series following Parise’s injury.

We are only halfway through the 13 year deal that Parise signed, so there is still plenty of time to makeup for the injury riddled start to his time in the State of Hockey. If Zach intends on making the most of his time here, this is the season to start.

With numerous new signings battling with up-and-coming prospects battling for time and roster space on the Minnesota Wild roster, change is coming within the next year. Parise’s guaranteed money and no trade clause mean he likely isn’t going anywhere, but another year with an early playoff exit could see some big moves coming next offseason.

This year we will hopefully see the Parise who finished last season with 17 points in his last 21 games of the year, and hopefully we will see him expand those numbers over an 82 game span. There is no reason to believe he is not capable of the same kinds of numbers he put up in his final season as a Devil.

Next. Season Preview Mikael Granlund. dark

Realistically, 30 goals and 65-70 points over an 82 game season should be manageable even for a second line player. If Parise can provide that from the second line alongside Granlund, and Jason Zucker with Eric Staal can repeat last year on the first line, the Minnesota Wild should have one of the best one-two punches in the NHL (possibly trailing only McDavid/Draisatl and Crosby/Malkin for best in the league).