I must admit this one has caught me somewhat off guard.
This is the worst time of year to be a hockey fan, especially a fan of the National Hockey League, as it tends to be the time of year where there is both no NHL hockey and no real news to speak of in and around the sport either. It's the dog days of summer for many hockey fans, but every once in a while an NHL insider will wake up all those dormant hockey fans with a bombshell report like the one we are about to share with you.
In a recent article published for The Athletic, Mike Russo, unquestionably the best Minnesota Wild insider in the business, laid out a series of facts which appear to point towards the very real possibility of a blockbuster trade from the aforementioned Wild. Even more shocking than a big mid summer trade however is the name being bandied about from the Wild's side of the equation, that of star forward and leading Wild goal scorer Zach Parise. According to Russo Minnesota Wild general manager Paul Fenton has been exploring his options for a trade that would ship Parise out of town and presumably launch the Wild on a full on rebuild after trading away several of their core players in recent months.
Nevertheless, sources have told The Athletic that at the draft and in the weeks since that Fenton has explored what teams may have interest in Parise. But even if Fenton finds a trade partner, it’s a very tricky and delicate situation.
The thought of Parise being traded would no doubt go over rather poorly with the Wild fan base, this in spite of the fact that the star forward has never truly lived up to the monster deal he signed when he initially joined the team. Parise is a hometown hero in Minnesota and therefore is inexorably associated with the Wild's brand and trading him would no doubt cause tremendous uproar in that particular hockey market. In spite of that however Russo is simply never wrong when it comes to his reporting on the Wild, and you can bet that if he is putting this story to paper that his sources on this are ironclad as well.
Russo also took the opportunity to speak to Parise directly about the matter, and it certainly sounds like the veteran star has no interest in sticking around for the rebuild. Now there's no doubt that Parise went out of his way to express his love for the Minnesota market, but he also did not make it very hard to read between the lines here.
“I think I want to win,” began Parise as per The Athletic. “I want to win here, and I do love everything away from the rink. We’ve got so many friends through the kids away from the rink, away from hockey. It’s so great. It is great, so that’s the hard part.
“But you get to that point where you want to win. That’s all you want to do. Trust me, we’d all love to win here. I think this place would be absolute insanity if we won here. So that’s the goal. I mean, I just don’t know. Let’s put it this way, they haven’t come to me asking if I want to get traded somewhere.
“We love everything about Minnesota. It’s just the hockey part lately has been difficult.”
It may simply be a case of me reading too much into the comments from Parise, but that certainly comes off to me like a player that would willing ok a trade to a Stanley Cup contender. Doing so won't be easy though. In spite of all his talent Parise has some major red flags associated with him as well with the most flagrant being his contract and his health. Parise's inability to stay healthy has been a major source of frustration for the Wild's fan base and will no doubt continue to be such a source for the remainder of his NHL career. Not only can the forward not stay healthy but he has a whopping 6 years remain on his contract at a cap hit of just over $7.5 million per season.
The good news for the Wild is that Parise's front loaded deal will be very attractive to teams trying to get to the salary floor, but the bad news of course is that those will not be the type of team's Parise will be willing to waive his trade protection for. In order to make this deal a reality the Wild will likely have to retain a significant portion of his current salary, or will have to include valuable assets in the deal. It may be a deal that fans in Minnesota do not want to see, but it certainly sounds like it is a trade that could be coming down the pipeline in the not so distant future.