While the Minnesota Wild are hardly calling it a rebuilding project, it’s been quite obvious of late that they have been doing just that. Afterall, the team has traded away Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund in the second half of the season last year and continue to look like they are getting younger and younger.
In an in-depth piece about Wild forward Zach Parise, The Athletic’s Michael Russo (subscription required) writes that The Athletic has learned that general manager Paul Fenton has discussed the possibility of trading Parise at the draft and in the weeks since then in hopes of finding a trade partner. That would be a tall challenge for the GM as the 34-year-old Parise still has six years remaining on his contract at $7.53MM AAV (he originally signed a 13-year, $98MM contract back in 2012). Regardless, the scribe believes the team is seriously considering it, although there would be some obstacles.
First on the list, is whether Parise, who has a full no-movement clause, would be willing to accept a trade. While from Minneapolis and stating quite clearly that he loves it in Minnesota, the veteran also revealed that he’s concerned about the fact that the Wild seem to be looking toward a rebuild, something a veteran of 15 years isn’t likely to want to go through.
“I think I want to win. I want to win here, and I do love everything away from the rink. We’ve got so many friends through the kids away from the rink, away from hockey. It’s so great. It is great, so that’s the hard part,” Parise said, when asked if he’d be willing to accept a trade. “But you get to that point where you want to win. That’s all you want to do. Trust me, we’d all love to win here. I think this place would be absolute insanity if we won here. So that’s the goal. I mean, I just don’t know. Let’s put it this way, they haven’t come to me asking if I want to get traded somewhere.”
The second problem is that no playoff teams are going to be willing to pay $7.53MM for six straight years at his age, which will mean that Minnesota almost assuredly would have to retain some of his salary, perhaps even half of it. And if the club does that, would they be able to get a quality return even then? Parise did post 28 goals last season and could prove to be a valuable asset to many teams, but would a team be willing to take on six more years of him and hand over a major asset or two as well? After all, he’ll be 35 when the season starts and will be still be paid that amount when he turns 40. That’s a tall order even if they only have to pay $3.77MM per season.
Obviously moving Parise would quicken the pace of a rebuild as Parise’s contract (along with Ryan Suter who signed the same contract alongside Parise back in 2012) are definitely holding the team back from a complete rebuild. Of course, Parise also was the team’s leading scorer last year on a team that struggled to put the puck into the net and the team could get quite a negative reaction from fans if the team sends him off, especially if the return is a meager one. However, this might be the best time to move on from Parise after his 28-goal season as he is only getting older and even fewer teams will have interest in trading for him in the future if he struggles next season.