Zach Parise would like to be back for a second season with the Islanders, even as he’s not sure whether he’ll still be with the team past Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
"I’d love to, yeah," the impending unrestricted free agent said before the Islanders’ 2-1 win over the playoff-bound Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden to conclude a two-game road trip. "I really have enjoyed being with this team and these players. It’s been a blast, really."
But the Islanders are 19 points behind the Capitals for the final wild-card spot, all but certain to miss the playoffs for the first time in four seasons under president and general manager Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz.
That has naturally led to speculation as to whether Lamoriello — who selected Parise 17th overall in 2003 for the Devils after then-Islanders GM Mike Milbury picked Robert Nilsson two slots earlier — would look to trade him by Monday’s deadline. Parise has eight goals and 16 assists in 58 games.
Lamoriello brought Parise to the Islanders, where his late father, J.P. Parise played from 1975-78, on a one-year, $750,000 deal after the Wild bought out the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million pact.
"We’ll see what happens but, no, I haven’t had any discussions about that," Parise, 37, said. "And maybe we will, maybe we won’t. But it’s out of my hands. I’m not overly concerned about it right now."
Trotz has frequently praised Parise for his willingness to play any role that’s required, joking he would strap on the goalie pads if asked.
Parise, 37, said it has not been a hard adjustment.
"Loved it," Parise said. "Let’s be honest here, I was out of the lineup 12 months ago. To have the opportunity that they’ve given me, I’ve tried, as best I can, to take advantage of it and I’ve loved every minute of it. They put me in good spots and I don’t care where my name is on the board. You adjust to whatever spot they put you in, whether it’s center, right wing, first line, fourth line. I’ve been all over and it’s been awesome."
The Islanders are on a 4-0-1 streak, two games shy of their longest points streak of the season…Anders Lee has a career-high, six-game goal streak with nine goals in that span…Kyle Palmieri extended his point streak to six games (four goals, three assists)…Defenseman Scott Mayfield had six of the Islanders’ 16 blocked shots…Defenseman Ryan Pulock has seven assists in his last seven games.