The 2013 season was one that was met with mixed reviews for Zach Parise. After signing a massive contract with the Minnesota Wild, there was an expectation that he, along with Ryan Suter, would almost immediately turn them into serious contenders in the Western Conference.
That didn’t exactly work out the way that the Wild had planned, but there were some serious flashes. At one point, they were leading the Northwest Division before injuries took their toll and the offensive fizzled out. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Parise is the right building block for this team in the offensive end.
The Wild ended up grabbing the no. 8 seed out of the West, barely hanging onto a playoff spot after scuffling in the final few weeks of the regular season. While they didn’t make it past five games in the first round, it was a valuable experience for a team that is pretty young overall, and it saw Parise lead the way on offense.
Parise finished the regular season with 38 points in 48 games. His point total overall was tops on the team, as well as his 18 goals. His 20 assists finished tied for third on the team, along with a plus-2 rating for the year. There were a couple stretches where he went dark on the goal scoring side, but was a figure of consistency for the most part.
What’s even better is the fact that Parise continued to demonstrate that he’s one of the best two-way players in the game out on the wing. He had 24 takeaways, tied for second on the time, while also blocking 41 shots. He played the physical game when he had to as well, with 59 hits on the year.
As he heads into his second year with the Wild, there’s little doubt that Parise will be better in 2013-14. First of all, he’s had a year to adjust, so right off the bat he’s going to be more comfortable. His shooting percentage should rise a touch, which could lead to another 30-goal season, which would be the sixth of his career.
With the young supporting talent on this roster taking some of the pressure off of the top guys, all signs point to an improvement from Parise. Expect a return to the elite in 2013-2014.