While Devils fans kick the dirt over not making the playoffs this year, they’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see Zach Parise back on the ice in a Devils uniform. Parise won’t play tonight against the Islanders despite previous inclinations that he might and is instead aiming for Saturday’s game against Montreal to play for the first time since early November.
Parise has been out for five months with a torn meniscus and while things were going badly for the Devils already when he went down with the injury, his absence certainly didn’t make things any easier on former coach John MacLean. New Jersey would love to see what Parise’s got before he becomes a restricted free agent in the offseason. Don’t think that won’t enter into contract negotiations with the young stud winger. This is Lou Lamoriello we’re talking about here after all.
While Parise’s return won’t help give the Devils that one final jolt they need to get into the playoffs, it’s encouragement for the team heading into next season where there’s sure to be more than its fair share of unknown factors to be sorted out this summer. The Devils will likely be looking for a new coach and of course the usual shuffling of players on the roster as well. Parise’s contract negotiations figure to be the high drama of the offseason for New Jersey and seeing where he’s at on the ice before delving into that makes sense for both sides.
For now, we’ll just be happy to see him back on the ice doing his thing regardless of when that is.