Zach Parise Will Fail to Live Up to Expectations for the Wild

Kevin SchlittenhardtCorrespondent IIJuly 5, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 09:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates with Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils after Parise scores a goal in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings during Game Five of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center on June 9, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

In 2007, the New Jersey Devils lost Scott Gomez to the New York Rangers after seven seasons and two Stanley Cups with the Devils. Parise, who has also defected from New Jersey after seven seasons with the Devils, can look forward to following in Gomez’s mediocre skates.

“I'm a loyal person. I loved playing there. I told Lou [Lamoriello], that too,” said Parise (via the Star Ledger). "I think at the end it came between New Jersey and Minnesota."

Parise, who spent last season playing alongside Russian sniper Ilya Kovalchuk and Calder trophy finalist Adam Henrique, will surely see his production drop from that of his 2012 season (31 G, 38 A, 69 Pts).

His future teammate, Dany Heatley, notched 11 less points in his past season with Minnesota (24 G, 29 A, 53 Pts) than he did in his 2011 season with the Sharks (26 G, 38 A, 64 PTS). The next highest scoring Wild forward is Kyle Brodziak, who was the only other plus-20-goal scorer on the Wild with 22.

The two “top” Wild forwards are a far cry from Parise’s prior teammates. The now-former Devil is a hard-working two-way player, but he will have a world of trouble performing on a team that has no 30+ goal-scorers.

In the 2012 season, the Wild had the lowest goals-per-game average in the league (2.02) and the fourth-worst power play percentage (15.1%). Needless to say, they missed the 2012 playoffs, finishing 12th in the Western Conference.

The Wild have made it to the playoffs three times in their 12 years of existence.

In their first run in 2003, they made it to the Western Conference finals where they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks (4-0).


Minnesota had a much shorter run in the 2007 and 2008 playoffs, losing in the quarterfinals to Anaheim in 2007 (4-1) and Colorado in 2008 (4-2).

What players and teams fail to realize is that a player’s performance is affected by far more than just natural talent—coaching, drilling, teammates and atmosphere all affect a player’s game. When a player like Parise defects to a new team, he becomes a new player entirely.

Parise might have his family and friends around him more in Minnesota, but in a life where hockey is a career, friends and family become distractions and can negatively impact a player's performance.

Former Devil Scott Gomez’s production quickly slipped after his first year with the Rangers, and he was eventually dealt to the Montreal Canadiens, where he has just put up two of his career-worst seasons.

Parise left a team that had just made it to the Stanley Cup Finals to be a hometown hero in hopeless Minnesota and, like Scott Gomez in 2007, he has dug his own grave.