Coming into the 2013 season, expectations were mixed regarding the Minnesota Wild. Some expected them to come out and be a serious playoff contender immediately, while others didn’t think that the additions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter would put them over the playoff hump right away.
Regardless of which side of those expectations you fell one, it’s hard to consider the 2013 campaign anything other than a success for the Wild. It had a disappointing end, as they were bounced from the first round, but there were some tremendous positives throughout the year.
We already know about the success of the blue line. Ryan Suter is a Norris Trophy finalist and we all know how big of a snub Jonas Brodin was for the Calder Trophy. But what about the season that Parise had? After leading his team to Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2011-2012, Parise didn’t seem to get as much coverage as the likes of Suter.
In his first year with the Wild, Parise had a bit of an up-and-down year. His final numbers on the season could be considered a success, but it was pretty clear he was going to through an adjustment with his new team, with a few stretches of silence on the stat sheet.
Parise finished the year with 18 goals, which would have had him on pace for yet another 30-goal season, the sixth season of his career in which he’d have had at least 30, but he did fall silent on a couple of different occasions. One such occurrence came at the beginning of April, when he went eight straight without a goal.
While he did have those times where he was a bit inconsistent, it’s hard to say too many negative things about his season. His 18 goals led the team, as did his 38 points. His defensive play continued to remain at a high level, as he demonstrated that he’s one of the game’s best two-way forwards.
One should certainly expect Parise to have a better second season next year in Minnesota. With a year to adjust to his new teammates, he should be able to snap out of those periods of inconsistency a bit quicker, and could very well return to putting up big numbers next season.