It’s very rare that a 39 year old free agent sitting on the market in late January could provide an upgrade to your team, but the Colorado Avalanche may have found one that will.
Last week, the Avalanche announced they had signed veteran Zach Parise to a contract through the end of the season. Parise has not played an NHL game since April 28, 2023, when the New York Islanders fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in six games.
To be honest, I don’t watch a lot of Islanders hockey, and definitely didn’t watch a lot of them last year, so what kind of player Parise is at this point in his career was a bit of a mystery to me. Can he even help the Avalanche at this stage in his career? He put up solid numbers, scoring 21 goals, on a decent team that made the playoffs, but what kind of role can he fill?
To find the answer, I dug in and watched five Islanders games from the 2022-23 campaign. He’s not the Zach Parise who pestered the Avalanche for years in a Minnesota Wild uniform, but he still has game, still is a pain in the butt to play against, and looks like he could be an upgrade on what they have at the bottom of the lineup.
Let’s dig in.