Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise says he wants to stay with team

Zach Parise is coming off a season in which his playing time was decreased and also led to him being a healthy scratch for stretches of the season. Despite that, he said he doesn't want to play anywhere else. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Zach Parise is coming off a season in which his playing time was decreased and also led to him being a healthy scratch for stretches of the season. Despite that, he said he doesn't want to play anywhere else. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Will Zach Parise stay with the Minnesota Wild, or will he go?

That question of the veteran winter’s future  is just one that the organization faces in a short offseason that also promises to be an interesting one

The 36-year-old, who has four seasons left on the deal he signed in 2012, made his preference known on Tuesday in  Zoom call with the media during the team’s season-ending wrap-up session.

“You never sign a deal and then not fully intend on not seeing it through,” said Parise, who surpassed 800 career points this season. “I understand that things change but from my standpoint , I’ve always enjoyed playing here. I don’t want to play anywhere else.

“I’ve got the term left on the deal and I plan on being here in training camp next year,” Parise said. “I haven’t been told otherwise. Right now that’s my intention and  I don’t want to speculate on any other way and I don’t want to cause any speculation any other way either. ”

Parise’s place with the Wild has been a source of speculation for the past two years. He was nearly traded to the New York Islanders in February 2020 before the deal fell apart. His role with the Wild has also diminished this year

Parise was moved to the fourth line during the season and then was  a  healthy scratch for  two stretches  this year — in early March and then again in May over the final stretch of the regular season schedule  . He also sat for the first three games of the first-round playoff series against Vegas and was  inserted into the lineup after Marcus Johansson was injured..

Past injuries and age have caught up with Parise in his offensive numbers. But he showed he can still be a productive player on the ice when given a chance.

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Parise, the team’s all-time leader in playoff goals and points,  scored twice  and added an assist over the final three games of the best-of-seven series. That came after he  had just seven goals and 18 points  in 45 games during the regular season.

“I’ve known the whole time that’s the player that I am and can be ,” Parise said. “Given the opportunity, there was no doubt in my mind that I can play and contribute.”

Will that  playoff performance gives the Wild pause for consideration in terms of Parise’s future with the team?  Or would Parise continue to accept a diminished role on the team, perhaps as a member of the fourth line?

Then again maybe the Wild will even give Parise a buyout on his contact  — an expensive move for the organization but maybe a sensible one for all parties involved.

Those questions will be answered over the coming weeks or perhaps months. Maybe Parise, who never has been a distraction, was just saying the right thing for now during his media availability session.

One thing is clear, however. Wild general manager Bill Guerin has shown that he is not afraid to move some notable names on the Wild roster — or move on from them — over the past few years.

There is a chance that more familiar names might be on the move in  the coming months through either the Seattle expansion draft, potential trades or an outright release.. It’s the decisions that the team will have to make as it works toward building a roster for a 2021-22 season that the Wild carry a lot of excitement and optimism into.

It remains to be seen if Parise will ultimately be part of that. He feels he could be., saying that there is no doubt in his mind that he  still can play the game. That is true whether it  is in Minnesota or somewhere else.

” I have no problem coming back in here ready to go.  That’s s where my mentality is right now ,” Parise said.  “I am very confident that if spots are up for grabs (on the roster) that I will be able to grab one of those,” Parise said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to and then we’ll see what happens.”