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Let's Meet: Zach Parise

Zach! Zach! A question, please, sir! Who is better - you or Erik Christensen?
Zach! Zach! A question, please, sir! Who is better - you or Erik Christensen?

If you don't know who Zach Parise is, you may not fully understand why you have reached this site. May we suggest that you return to Google and try the next return on your list?

Parise is a known quantity around these parts. He's a hard working, goal scoring forward that just signed with the Minnesota Wild 12 days ago, and already has the weight of an entire fan base on his shoulders. He has signed one of two matching contracts that tie him for the highest paid player in franchise history, and has already helped to sell more than 2000 new season tickets, along with countless sweaters from the Hockey Lodge.

You already know Parise you say? Oh really? Yeah. You might think you know Zach Parise, but do you really? Ask yourself this question - if you were going to pick an actor to play Parise in a movie, who would it be?

Now, hold that actor in your mind, and then get to know one of the two newest members of the Minnesota Wild.

The Stats

It is impossible to know, but it is interesting to note that Parise played a season in the AHL during the lockout. You can't help but believe it helped with his development, rather than hindered it in anyway.

Did you know: Parise is 29 for 63 in shootouts, for a 46% success rate. The Wild's go to, goal every time, lock to do something right Mikko Koivu? 27 for 64, good for 42.2%. Anyone excited to see a shootout with Koivu, Parise, and Mikael Granlund? Anyone still upset about Erik Christensen going to Russia?

The Experts

For the purposes of this exercise, we turn to TOm Stivali, oh he of In Lu We Trust fame. Thanks to Tom for doing this so soon after his favorite team lost a big piece of their team. We truly appreciate it.

Simply put, Zach Parise is a fantastic player to watch and have on your team. For me, I always appreciated Parise highlights that focused on his ability to disrupt plays when he was backchecking and trying to break up a play. That's where you will appreciate his work ethic. One underrated area where he will help the Wild get points is the shootout, especially considering their alternatives. While his success rate was only 50% last year he was one of the first guys out there for the shootout and his success rate helps a team get a few extra points in the standings during the season.

His ability to adapt to the skill and play of his linemates (something he had to do this past year with Ilya Kovalchuk) is underrated. Most of his goals will be generated around the crease, but he will still be able to help others and create scoring chances where they are most comfortable, either on offensive zone possessions or on a rush.

One area of goal production that he should see an increase in is power play goals. While he was proficient for the Devils on the power play the past few years, he was the second option since the Devils acquired Kovalchuk in mid-2010. Also, if the Wild commit to generating shots from below the circles on the power play that can leave rebounds in the crease area, which Parise should clean up.

You are also getting a tenacious penalty killer, who with the right partner can make the penalty kill an asset for the Wild.

Where I wonder about Parise is how he will respond to a market that is hungry for a winner and looking to him to deliver it. Despite Ryan Suter having the exact same contract and Mikko Koivu still being captain, Parise is the new face of the Wild's franchise. The Wild's success will ride on his shoulders, where in New Jersey he was always a part of a larger machine and helped out by an extremely friendly media who propped him up so much, one would think he raised cups with Martin Brodeur and Scott Stevens.

How will Parise respond if the team struggles? Based on some of his father's comments last year, during the Devils horrific 2010-11 season he was looking for a trade. That season was the first time in his New Jersey career that a team was likely to make the postseason. Let's hope that he doesn't get as easily frustrated if Minnesota fails to contend for a playoff spot.

His reaction to newfound pressure aside, one area where Parise is invaluable is his work ethic and leadership. Bringing up prospects like Granlund and having him see a player like Parise hustling up and down the ice all game is a great asset for the Wild to have. Parise was a leader by example and as a Devils fan I was proud to have him as a team Captain.

The Video

Denzel Washington? Well played, sir. Well played, indeed.

Where he Slots In

Oh come on. Is this even a question? Top line, top PP unit, top PK unit. Expect to see an awful lot of number 11, folks.