The Chicago Blackhawks challenged the Vancouver Canucks as the best offense in the Western Conference last season.
Adding free-agent left wing Zach Parise would make them the best offense in the West next season, without a doubt.
Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reported on Monday that Parise was in play for the Blackhawks this offseason, according to a source. Despite the Blackhawks having greater needs at other positions, a combination of the 27-year-old and Jonathan Toews would be a devastating duo.
Parise, who helped lead the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, is a goal-scoring machine. He scored 31 goals in 2011-2012 and he has five seasons of 30 goals or more, including a 45-goal campaign in 2008. The No. 17 overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft still has plenty of years left in him and he proved it last season.
Toews, on the other hand, is just 24 years old. He's scored at least 24 goals in each of his first five NHL seasons, and he scored 29 goals—with 28 assists—in 2011-2012. Pairing Parise and Toews would not only be immediately powerful, it would likely be one of the top attacking duos in hockey for years.
There are certain situations where you can't pass up an opportunity, even if it doesn't fill your most glaring needs. The combo of Parise and Toews would potentially be so devastating on the ice that the Blackhawks wouldn't need as strong of a defense. That could offset a ragged defensive group with an electric, nearly-unstoppable offense.
Just imagining Parise and Toews as a unit gives you goosebumps.