Zach Parise's incredible 19 year career has come to an end

Zach Parise's incredible 19 year career has come to an end.
Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche
Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche / Tyler Schank/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils made a brilliant decision when they traded up to select Zach Parise out of the University of North Dakota with the 17th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. He turned into an all-time great American-born player. 

He went on to play for the Devils for seven seasons. That included a trip to the Stanley Cup Final with them in 2012. His career year came with them in 2008-09 as he had 45 goals and 49 assists for 94 points. That year, he finished 5th in Hart Trophy voting. 

After reaching the Final in 2012, Parise hit the free agent market. He signed a lucrative contract with the Minnesota Wild where he ended up playing for nine seasons. He will go down as one of the greatest players in both Devils and Wild history. 

He had three seasons with the New York Islanders and one with the Colorado Avalanche in the twilight of his career. Both organizations were better for having Parise, even with him being in his late 30s.

Zach Parise found a way to be great for every team that he played for

There was also plenty of success representing the United States of America for Parise. Team USA won Gold twice at the World Juniors with Parise there. 

In the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Parise tied up the Gold Medal Game with under a minute to go but Team USA was handed Silver when Sidney Crosby scored the Golden Goal in overtime. 

In 2014, Parise was named to be the captain of Team USA ahead of their trip to Sochi. He also played for them in the World Cup of Hockey. With teammates like Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter, and Joe Pavelski amongst others, it was a fun era for USA Hockey. 

Parise missed some time during the late stages of his NHL prime due to back surgeries. That may have cost him a trip to the Hall of Fame. Nobody will ever doubt, however, how elite of a player he was. 

What was it that made Zach Parise so good? Well, it all started with his effort and tenacity. He gave it his all on every shift he ever played and it was noticeable. Parise was the definition of a “superstar grinder”. He had that 4th line mentality with first-round pick/superstar skill. 

Calling him a “poor man’s Sidney Crosby” is very accurate. Both of them had that same mentality that they learned playing for Shattuck St. Mary in their prep years. 

For being a left-wing, Parise also excelled as a defensive forward. He received Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) votes six times in his 19-year career. His great speed and tenacity had a lot to do with it. 

The career of Zach Parise ends with 434 goals and 455 assists for 889 points. He played in 1254 games over his 19 years. He had different roles everywhere he went but he was always consistent in delivering what his team needed. 

It is tough to see him go but he deserves all of the flowers for how great he was on and off the ice. Congrats to Zach Parise on retirement, he was truly a remarkable player and a great role model.