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Zach Parise Prepared for Emotional Return to Minnesota



Zach Parise

The  Zach Parise that left Minnesota so unceremoniously over the summer won’t be the same one that returns to the land of 10,000 lakes on Sunday night as a member of the New York Islanders.

It will mark the first time that Parise has faced off against the Minnesota Wild since they bought out his contract in July after a rough 2021 season. He signed with the Islanders a few months later.

It’s safe to say that Sunday will be ripe with plenty of emotions when he hits the ice.

“It’s gonna be a little weird,” Parise said. “A lot of different feelings and emotions going in there as a visitor now, seeing all the people that you’re so familiar with, and you’ve spent a lot of time with the last nine or 10 years.”

Parise spent nine seasons with Minnesota and appeared in 558 games, putting up 199 goals and 201 assists for 400 points. It was the latter years that led to the eventual decision to buy out the remainder of his 13-year, $98 million contract.

Zach Parise only had seven goals and 11 assists in 45 regular-season games last year and he also saw his playing time diminish. Parise also only averaged 13:57 of ice time.

The jump to the Islanders has breathed new life into the 37-year-old, who is still looking for his first goal as a member of the New York Islanders. Parise recorded his first two points of the season on Thursday in New York’s 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Parise has quickly found a home on the Islanders third line alongside young goal scorer Oliver Wahlstrom and centerman Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The three have come together nicely and on Saturday in Winnipeg Parise generated several scoring chances in the Islanders’ shutout win.

“Those guys are really good players,” Parise said about his linemates. “Wahlly’s finding the back of the net, JG is just a responsible player all over the ice, and I think as a group we are talking a lot, we’re learning a lot about each other, where the other guy likes to go, trying to figure out some easy options to get a little more offensive-zone time, a little more puck possession in the O-zone.

“We’re not giving up a whole lot. I think five-on-five we’d like to find the net a little bit more and contribute to the offensive side, but I think we’re playing pretty well together.”

The move to Long Island has not come without some extra stress for Parise, whose family has remained in Minnesota. His wife and kids have come to visit him and he made a quick appearance during a recent day off.

Still, being away from his family has been an adjustment for him. “We’re making the best out of the situation,” Parise said.

Now a few months removed from when Minnesota bought out his contract, Zach Parise said he has turned the page. His focus now is on helping the Islanders win.

“I’ve moved on,” Parise said. “It’s been a long time. I love where I’m at. We’ve got a great hockey team here. It’s a really fun group of players to be around, and that’s just made the transition that much easier. No, I’ve moved forward, I’ve moved on.”

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