When you think of the New York Islanders this season, veteran leadership is at the mind’s forefront. The Islanders are statistically the oldest team in the NHL this season but forward Cal Clutterbuck stated at the start of the latest break that “being an older team” and the experience that comes with age has allowed them to get through this season’s obstacles.
Zach Parise, a veteran that was brought in this past offseason, has not received much recognition for his game but he should.
A quick glance at the stat sheet makes that statement seems ludicrous. With just one goal and five assists in 28 games, it would seem that he has struggled to play his kind of game, the game we have seen from him for over 16 years.
Yes, the goals are down, and on a team that has needed depth scoring, Parise has struggled to provide that. But unlike other forwards on the team,
Parise has been able to help the Islanders in different ways. He’s adapted to his new role and has played the defensive-minded system Barry Trotz has in place to a tee.
“I think he’s adapted quite well,” Trotz said regarding Parise. “He’s probably in a little different place than he was ten years ago as a player. He’s been very valuable to us because you know what you are going to get shift in and shift out.”
“He’s got a drive train that doesn’t stop.”
Parise has seen minutes on every line, at every position, on both sets of special teams. But regardless of where he has slotted in and who he has slotted in with, the work ethic and the attention to the little areas of the Islanders’ game has made Parise a valuable asset.
It’s also something that Parise has enjoyed in his 17th NHL season.
“Honestly I’ve loved the role and the position they (management) have put me in,” Parise said. “Played all throughout, on every line, every position, and they’ve given me opportunities on the power play, on the penalty kill. I’m loving it really.”
His ability to take care of the puck has allowed him to be effective.
In 28 games this season Parise has just five turnovers, the fewest amongst everyday starters on the Islanders. That’s only 0.18 turnovers per game and 0.74 turnovers per sixty minutes.
This season, Parise also has 16 blocks, which works out to 2.38 blocks per sixty minutes. That ranks second on the team amongst the forward group, only trailing Brock Nelson (2.55) who has played in nine fewer games than Parise.
The Islanders’ power play has scored 14 goals this season and Parise has been on the ice for six of them. But when you look at the statistics, he has only received points on one of those goals.
The points do not take into consideration Parise’s positioning on the ice or the plays that he made that led to those goals.
There’s no available statistic to see how many power plays the Islanders have awarded their opponents, but the Islanders’ penalty kill has allowed 14 total goals. But Parise has been on the ice for five of the 14, only 36% of them.
Now again, goals and assists do matter. Parise has had chances this season with 44 shots and just one goal, a short-handed one. But his ability to do more than what meets the eye is what has paid dividends for the Islanders.
Speaking of Parise, he’s a player that has reached the Stanley Cup Finals before. If you think the Islanders can make it to the Stanley Cup Finals this season after two trips to the semifinals the last two postseasons, head on over to Fanduel.com’s Stanley Cup betting odds.