Parise's Numbers: In 81 Regular Season games, Parise scored 38 goals, had 44 assists, was a +24 and registered 32 minutes on the powerplay. He led the team in goals, assists, points and +/- numbers. In the first round series of the playoffs against the Flyers, Parise had 1 goal and 3 assists.
My Thoughts: How can you not look at this kid and not know what he means to this organization. Say what you will about the talent that Ilya Kovalchuk has and what he brings to the table but for me personally, Zach Parise is far more important to this team in my mind.
On a team who's Power Play struggled for most of the season, Parise scored 9 Power Play goals and assisted on 17 others which means that Zach Parise had factored in on 26 goals scored this season on the Power Play. The Devils only scored a total of 51 goals when up a man (they had 273 oppurtunities) so you can see how important Zack Parise is to the New Jersey Devils special teams unit. Parise also scored one shorthanded goal this season.
When it came time to decide a game in the shootout, Parise was also the man in that category going 5 for 11 which means he appeared in all the shootouts for the Devils this season. One of his 5 goals was a game-deciding goal for the Devils.
Sure, Parise fell off from 45 goals the previous year to 38 this season but became the first Devil ever to register back-to-back 80-point seasons. One has to wonder how much Kovalchuk going the Devils ate into Parise's production because when Ilya first arrived, the Devils seemed to have a "get Kovy the puck at all costs" mentality. You cannot argue that Zach Parise's effort night in and night out is anything but superb. The kid skates hard, rarely gives up on a puck, doesn't shy away from giving/taking hits and rarely lets an opponent outwork him. Sadly, that can't be said for a number of his teammates.
Parise's Future: He's a franchise type of player, a guy that you would do anything to keep in your locker room. With Lemaire retiring and making the Devils search for yet another head coach, I certainly do wonder if Zach Parise will become the Devils next Captain. I know Jamie had issues with the coach this season, (and we will get to his review next week) but right now, Parise is probably the best choice to replace Langenbrunner as Captain because of his never say die work ethic. The Devils need a guy like Parise to take control. Zach Parise is a RFA after next season but you have to believe that Lou will do everything to make sure Zach stays in NJ for a long time.