There was a great deal of uncertainty around Zach Parise entering the 2018-19 season. The year before, Parise underwent a procedure on his back, and it cut his season in half. Parise did return to decent form by March that season, but the question was, could he put together a full season of solid play at the age of 34?
Parise answered that question with a resounding yes.
Offering up his best goals and points per game mark since 2014-15, Parise reminded the Minnesota faithful just how good he can be when he fully healthy. Even at an age when players in the NHL take a sharp decline, Parise was able to find a form he had not seen in four seasons.
The 61 points Parise tallied in 2018-19 was second highest among all NHL forwards aged 34 or older, just trailing San Jose’s Joe Pavelski who finished with 64.
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There were even some individual accolades for Parise this season, as he continued to climb the franchise leaderboards in offensive categories. He surpassed Dave Christian (340) for the most goals scored in NHL history by a Minnesota-born player with now 361 career goals.
Parise currently sits third in team history in goals (167) and fourth in points (336). He also is now second with three career hat tricks in Minnesota, just trailing Marian Gaborik‘s nine.
The Bloomington native was even feeling so great this season, he created a Twitter account for which he made his first tweet a memorable one to honor another Minnesota legend.
However, next season will mark Parise’s age 35 campaign. A fact he is not lost on, as he continues to try and win the elusive Stanley Cup. Parise made it clear at locker room cleanout day in April that he hopes the team does not rebuild and tries to make some additions to get this team back into the playoffs next season. He even cited there is plenty of work to do for general manager Paul Fenton to help inject life into the team’s offense, which went lights out in the second half of the season.
As Parise approaches the 1,000 games played milestone next season, he hopes that the Wild will be back in the competitive column. Perhaps no player will be watching the Wild offseason more closely, as he hopes to get another kick at the can in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Even with six years left on his 13-year contract, Parise knows he might not be able to play out that contract with his injury history. For the Wild, they certainly hope he can, as early retirement would cost them dearly.
But for now, Parise looks to be all systems go as he enters 2019-20, which is about all you can ask of him heading into another season.