Zach Parise should choose the Minnesota Wild in free agency, because the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup with your hometown team is something too good to pass up.
Here's the latest involving Parise and the Wild, according to Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune:
I have been ensured my multiple folks that the #mnwild is very much still in this Parise ballgame.— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) July 2, 2012
Minnesota played pretty well defensively last season, finishing 13th in GAA and 15th in penalty-kill percentage. They managed this success despite starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom playing in only 46 games.
Is Minnesota the best fit for Parise?
The team's major issues are on offense. The Wild finished last in the league in goals scored per game last season, and were 27th in power play success. They need a player like Parise who is a proven 30-plus goal scorer.
Aside from the 2010-11 season, when Parise missed 69 games due to injury, he has never missed more than a game in a season for his entire career. This kind of durability would be valuable to a Wild team that has dealt with a large number of injuries over the last few years.
The Wild are also a team that's not afraid to spend money to improve the team, proven by their offers to Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter on the first day of free agency. Ownership seems committed to winning, and in a hockey market with extremely passionate fans, playing in Minnesota can be an amazing experience.
If he chose the Wild, Parise could lead his home state's team to their first Stanley Cup title, which is something every player dreams about as a kid.