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What does Zach Parise bring to the Islanders?

New York Islanders

SAINT PAUL, MN - APRIL 28: Robert Bortuzzo #41 of the St. Louis Blues defends Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on April 28, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

It has been believed for weeks now that the New York Islanders and Zach Parise have had a contract agreement in place and have simply been waiting to announce it to the world. On Friday, they are going to officially introduce their new forward and finally end what has been one of the league’s most poorly kept secrets.

Given the history between Parise and Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello going back to their New Jersey days it is not a surprise to see Parise end up on Long Island, especially after the Islanders nearly traded for him at the deadline a couple of years ago.

Parise was a free agent this offseason after the remainder of his contract was bought out by the Minnesota Wild.

So now that Parise is in the mix, let’s take a look at what this means for the Islanders.

Another potential scoring option

If the Islanders have had a question mark the past couple of years it’s been their goal scoring. Even with all of their postseason success they have been in the bottom half of the league offensively and don’t really have a lot of gamebreakers outside of Mathew Barzal.

What they have is a solid lineup from top-to-bottom that doesn’t really have any weaknesses.

Parise’s addition, as well as the eventual return of Anders Lee and a full season of Kyle Palmieri, not to mention a potential step forward from Oliver Wahlstrom, should help add some additional scoring punch and perhaps make up for the loss of Jordan Eberle to the Seattle Kraken.

The question is just how much will it add.

At 37, Parise is clearly not the player he was in his prime, and based on what we saw a year ago he is probably not even the same player that he was a two or three years ago. The 2020-21 season was the worst, least productive year of Parise’s career and even saw him end up as a healthy scratch at times.

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The thing is, a lot of his drop in production last season can be attributed to a sharp decline in ice time, especially on the power play.

His 5-on-5 play on a per minute basis not only remained solid, it would have placed him among the leaders of the Islanders.

His 0.81 goals per 60 minutes would have placed him fourth on the Islanders behind only Eberle, Barzal, and Anthony Beaulivier.

The 1.75 points per 60 would have been fifth behind only the aforementioned trio and Josh Bailey.

His 8.15 shots on goal per 60 would have been second behind only Eberle.

So there is still a little something there, and given how much the Islanders’ power play struggled at times last year maybe he gets a look back in that role and can rebuild some of his production.

What is remaining for the Islanders

With Palmieri, Casey Cizikas and Ilya Sorokin re-signed and Parise added into the mix, probably the only thing remaining on the Islanders’ offseason shopping list is another left defenseman to round out their blue line. The free agent market, though, is extremely thin for that. Zdeno Chara remains unsigned, but there is a significant drop off after him. A trade might make the most sense if the Islanders still feel that is something that needs to be addressed.