A lot of people thought Zach Parise’s career was over a few years ago. In 2020-21, he scored just seven goals in 45 games for the Minnesota Wild, found himself on the fourth line or in the press box, and was bought out at the end of the season. He was turning 37 and would earn a paycheck from the Wild through 2028-29—what better situation to sail off into the sunset.
Except, he wasn’t done. Parise would join his old general manager Lou Lamoriello with the New York Islanders and experience something of a renaissance. This past season he scored 21 goals, the 11th time in his career he scored at least that many. Now, instead of assuming his career is over, people are asking whether he’s returning to the Islanders for another go.
A month before his 39th birthday, Parise still isn’t sure. Andrew Gross of Newsday reports that the veteran forward is undecided on his playing future, meaning the Islanders must wait before any negotiations can happen.
After his one-year, bonus-laden deal expires, Parise is about to become an unrestricted free agent again. He had an initial $750K cap hit last season but earned another $750K in bonus money for staying healthy. That kind of a deal would be expected again if he decides to return, and likely only with the Islanders.
If it is the end, Parise’s two seasons with New York are a nice capstone on a fantastic career. Selected 17th overall by Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils in 2003, he has played 1,224 regular season games, scored 429 goals, and recorded 879 points.