Can you call this the first “big” move of the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline?
After a couple of days of excitement and speculation following a report from longtime Minnesota Wild reporter, Michael Russo, the Colorado Avalanche announced on Friday that they would be signing veteran Left Winger Zach Parise to an $825k contract for the remainder of the 2023-24 NHL season.
Parise, 39, didn’t sign with any organization following his most recent contract with the New York Islanders. In late September, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello stated that Parise wouldn’t be attending Islanders training camp, citing that he would instead be at home with his family.
The American Winger has had quite the career, spanning 1224 NHL games, plus another 111 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With over 900 points tallied at the NHL level, Parise brings an immediate locker room presence much like Andrew Cogliano and Jack Johnson.
The Avs are very familiar with Parise, with him having spent nine seasons with the Minnesota Wild after signing twin 13-year, $98 million contracts with the club back in the summer of 2012.
In two seasons on Long Island, Parise appeared in every single game possible, skating in all 82 regular season contests both years, while adding six playoff games last season. He tallied 21 goals and 13 assists over the course of the regular season, skating in primarily a third line role with dual special teams usage.
Zach Parise, reportedly signing with COL, is a veteran bottom six winger who can still create offence even though his finishing and (especially) skating isn't what it used to be. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/HxutiBNAgN— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) January 27, 2024
Parise shouldn’t garner as big of a role in Colorado that he’s been accustomed to the majority of his NHL career. If he can still help on the penalty kill great, but in all likelihood the Avs are looking at Parise to be a bit of an offensive spark to their fourth line and a replacement for the failed Tomas Tatar experiment.
I personally would be intrigued to see his fit next to Ross Colton and Logan O’Connor on the third line while the club awaits the return of Valeri Nichushkin, but in a healthy lineup Parise likely slots in as your fourth line left wing next to Frederik Olofsson and Joel Kiviranta.
I wouldn’t expect him to blow the doors off and put up a 20-plus goal pace in this abbreviated stint, but Parise understands what he needs to do to succeed in the NHL in the bottom six. He’ll get involved in the board battles, he’ll go to the net front, he’ll throw the body and block shots, and if the Avs can get that from him, he’ll be fine.
There’s virtually zero downside to this contract, and a good bit of upside possible within this deal. He could very well be your 13th forward Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs depending on what GM Chris MacFarland has up his sleeve in the coming weeks.
Buckle up, Avs fans. The midseason fun has begun!