It’s still unknown if he’ll return to the ice for his 19th season or ultimately hang up the skates, but what is known is that the veteran winger will not be with the team in camp, as GM Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday.
“Zach will be with his family and we’ll see how the rest of the season goes,” Lamoriello said. “Right now it’s important for him to be there, he’s spent a couple of years away, so that’s the right decision at this point.”
Parise has appeared in 1,124 games over the course of his prestigious NHL career. After being bought out by Minnesota he spent the past two seasons with the Islanders and has enjoyed tremendous success.
The 39-year-old was a steady and reliable asset for Lane Lambert’s squad, appearing in all 82 regular season games each of the past two years.
Parise is coming off his best campaign since 2019, averaging 16 minutes of ice time and recording 20 goals and 34 points. He spent most of his time on the Isles’ shutdown third line but also saw minutes on the power play and penalty kill.
Perhaps where he made his biggest impact for New York though, was off the ice. The former first-round pick drew high praise from his teammates throughout the season as one of the leaders in the locker room.
That’s exactly why Lamoriello isn’t ruling out a potential reunion.
“The door is always open,” he said. “When you have a player like that, who loves the game the way he does and had the success he had and what he did for the team, it’s a tough thing for him to make the decision.
“You allow it to go as long as you possibly can without pressing or asking and I think he made the right decision for his family. And then we’ll just keep the door open for him.”
The feeling certainly seems mutual, as Parise told reporters following the conclusion of the 2023 season that if he were to return for one more run it would be “here or nowhere.”
We’ll see if the veteran decides to give it one last shot in orange and blue or if he brings an end to a terrific career.