Zach Parise is not joining the Islanders as a nostalgia trip, even though there could be plenty of that. His father, J.P. Parise, scored one of the most memorable playoff goals in team history against the Rangers in overtime in 1975 and the organization famously passed on him in the 2003 NHL draft in favor of Robert Nilsson. Plus, there’s his relationship with president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, his old boss with the Devils.
But winger Parise chose the Islanders because he believes he still can be a productive player for a Stanley Cup contender. The Wild bought out the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal on July 13.
"There’s a lot of mixed emotions after that," Parise said Friday on a Zoom teleconference to formally introduce him as an Islander. "But, still, some sense of relief at the same time. When something like that does happen, yeah, of course, you want to get back to work right away and be ready for the following season.
"I know, personally, that I’ve still got a lot of good hockey left in me," he said. "But [the Wild] didn’t see it like that. Just a little extra motivation."
The Islanders did not announce contract terms for Parise, but he’s expected to play on a one-year deal.
Parise, 37, had seven goals and 11 assists in 45 games for the Wild last season and has 393 goals and 417 assists in 1,060 career regular-season games. He also played seven seasons for the Devils, leaving via free agency in 2012 after they lost to the Kings in the Stanley Cup final.
He said there were only "two or three teams that I had interest in going to," and decided the Islanders would be the best fit.
"You always feel like there’s a certain way that Lou’s teams play," Parise said. "The way they compete, top to bottom, they always play the game the right way.
"One of my best assets is that competitiveness. So, I think that part will mesh really well. Just from watching the past few years, the playoffs, it seemed really familiar to me with that style of hockey that we played in New Jersey."
Parise added he’s confident he can produce offensively for the Islanders. He’ll likely get a chance to skate with third-line center Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
"More importantly, being a piece of the puzzle and fitting in with that group," Parise said. "They’ve already established themselves as one of the best teams in the league. I know my age. But I still know that I can play the game and score goals."