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New York Islanders

Zach Parise Not Returning To Islanders To Begin Season




East Meadow, NY–As the New York Islanders prepare to open their 2023-24 season, they’ll be without one key member of their team from the last two years.

Islanders president of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello announced on Monday that forward Zach Parise is not retiring but will not return to the team to start the season either.

“Zach will not be here,” Lamoriello said. “Zach will be with his family. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes, but right now, it’s important for him to be there. He’s spent a couple of years away.”

In the spring, Parise was non-committal whether or not he’d return for another season. While taking another run at the Stanley Cup had its appeal to Parise, so too did life at home back in Minnesota.

“Since day one, we all have that dream of chasing the Cup,” Parise said at the end of last season. “That’s no different if you’re 18 or you’re 38 like I am. We’re always chasing that thing, so that’s always a draw. And, honestly, you just enjoy being around these people so much that it’s a huge draw. On the flip side, it’s no doubt it’s been hard being away from the family and being away from your kids for a couple of years. That’s hard. There’s a lot of different things that play into it.”

Parise, now 39, joined the Islanders prior to the 2021-22 season. Although he wasn’t the dynamic offensive threat he once was, Parise revitalized his career throughout his time with the Islanders and was a model of consistency for the team, not missing a single game in either the regular season or playoffs. In two seasons on Long Island, Parise recorded 69 points with 36 goals.

Given his longstanding relationship with Parise and the veteran’s production these last few years, Lamoriello did leave the door open for him to return later in the year if he pleases.

“Everybody knows the relationship I have with Zach,” Lamoriello said. “I understand, appreciate and respect the decision where he’s at. I think that when you have a player like that, who loves the game and had the success he had and what he did for the team, it’s a tough thing for him to make that decision. You allow him to go as long as you possibly can without pressing or asking, and I think he made the right decision for his family. We’ll just keep the door open for him.”

Parise’s contract with the Islanders expired at the end of last season, and he’s currently an unrestricted free agent. Parise did state that if he does choose to come back at any point, it would only be to the Islanders.

The Islanders will open their rookie development camp this week, with prospects undergoing physicals beginning this Wednesday. Veterans report to training camp next week.

Follow Andrew Fantucchio on Twitter: @A_Fantucchio