The reunion of Zach Parise and Lou Lamoriello, and the potential homecoming to a team synonymous with his father, JP Parise, would have all the elements for an ESPN 30 for 30. The writing seems to be on the wall for 36-year-old forward to be in orange and blue next season when the puck drops, following the Minnesota Wild’s buyout of his contract earlier this week.
Parise was drafted by Lamoriello in 2003 and played for the New Jersey Devils from 2005 to 2012 when he departed for his hometown of Minnesota and a hefty 13-year, $98 million contract. And Lamoriello tried to acquire Parise in a last-minute trade deadline deal in 2020, but financial complications on both sides kept it from happening.
Now Parise will come at a much cheaper and shorter price tag that wouldn’t hinder the Islanders’ current cap crunch. Sources have suggested to NYI Hockey Now that Parise being an Islander this upcoming year is all but set to happen.
Aside from the connection with Lamoriello and the chance to go to a team that has appeared in the conference finals in back-to-back years, coming to Long Island would present Parise with the chance to play a bigger role than he had been in Minnesota.
Parise had his playing time decreased during the season and he was a healthy scratch for Minnesota to start the playoffs. It had been far from what he had been expecting last year.
“I had my expectations heading into last season and where I fit in on the team,” Parise told the Pioneer Press. “Then it shakes out the way it did. I never questioned whether I was good enough to play in the NHL. Just unfortunate the way it ended up working out during the season. It wasn’t fun, I’ll say that much.”
Barry Trotz and the Islanders would give Parise a bigger role. Depending on who is on the roster come the opening of training camp in the fall, Parise could find himself taking Kyle Palmieri’s spot on the third line next to Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
With all the talk of Parise coming to Long Island, chatter around NHL circles has suggested that Parise is trying to get Ryan Suter to join him. The two have had a good relationship from their time in Minnesota and Suter already knows the Barry Trotz system from his time in Nashville.
Suter was also bought out by Minnesota this week and would come on a relatively cheap deal as well. The 36-year-old defenseman can still play and would help fill out the Islanders’ blue line that could lose Nick Leddy to trade or the expansion draft.
Suter could easily fit the second or third pairing role with either Scott Mayfield or Noah Dobson. The young defenseman took strides last season and having a veteran presence like Suter could continue to help his growth and development.
Both Suter and Parise are set to hit the open market on July 28 now that Minnesota expunged them from their books. The two will garner interest from plenty of teams once they do, but the interest between the Islanders and Parise might be too strong for either side to pass up.
And does that draw Suter to the Islanders? Time will tell.