One of the first big moves of the offseason occurred when the Minnesota Wild bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The buyouts come as Minnesota tries to clear cap space and protect other players from the expansion draft. With both players being on the free agent market, the Islanders are a team that could possibly sign both. After back to back semi final losses, the Islanders are looking for the pieces to make it further. Given history and what the Islanders need this offseason, there are a lot of reasons why Parise and Suter could sign with them.
They Can Add to the Islanders Offense
Both Parise and Suter have a lot to offer the Islanders offensive attack, which occasionally struggles. The Islanders don’t have a lot of players who have a shoot first mentality, which is where a lot of their offensive struggles come from. Adding Parise would provide an instant remedy to that problem, as goal scoring is Parise’s best trait. Prior to the 2020-21 season, Parise had scored over 20 goals in back to back seasons. His drop off to just seven goals in this prior season is mildly concerning, but it’s a risk worth taking. At worst, he offers a better alternative to other options like Leo Komarov or Michael Dal Colle who haven’t shown much offensively. Plus he’ll likely work on the third line with Pageau and Wahlstrom, who are more than capable of creating chances for him. And he’ll have plenty of opportunity on the Islanders power play given how passive the rest of the team tends to be.
Speaking of the power play, that’s where Suter can contribute to the Islanders offense. He has double digit power play points in 13 of his 16 NHL seasons. Like Parise, his addition to the power play should help create more opportunities for the often struggling unit. Suter is also just a great offensive creator in general. He’s had consistently high assist totals and a high amount of goals for while on the ice throughout the years. Both of those totals took a dip last year, but it shows he does have the ability to make significant contributions on offense.
Islanders Will Be Down a Defenseman
The Islanders are almost certainly going to be without a member of their 2020-21 defensemen group. It’s questionable if Andy Greene will return, he’s an unrestricted free agent at 38 years old. And according to Arthur Staple, Nick Leddy is currently being shopped by the team. Even if he isn’t traded, he’s a candidate to be taken by Seattle in the expansion draft. With the Islanders bound to lose a defenseman, Suter would be a solid replacement for any of them. Even with his point production dropping, Suter still played an overall good game on Minnesota’s top defensive unit. While he won’t be a game changer, the Islanders can rely on him to be a durable, reliable option on defensive side.
Parise’s History with Lamiorello
Lou Lamiorello has a habit of circling back to players from prior teams he’s managed when making acquisitions. Examples of this during his Islanders tenure include Leo Komarov, Andy Greene and Travis Zajac. Parise would be yet another one of these players as Lamiorello drafted Parise in 2003, and was the general manager for his entire tenure in New Jersey. Further adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Lamiorello has actually already tried bringing Parise to New York. Some may remember during the 2020 trade deadline, the Islanders very nearly traded Andrew Ladd to Minnesota for Parise. The deal fell through, but it shows that Lamoirello does believe Parise can fit in and help this Islanders team.
Veteran Presence and Cap Flexibility
The Islanders have the second oldest roster in the NHL, which surprisingly helps them a lot. Veteran leadership has been one of the keys to their continued success over the last two years. The value of veterans is clearly shown via Trotz’s lineup choices and Lamiorello acquisitions like Andy Greene and Travis Zajac. So needless to say, a pair of veterans like Suter and Parise would be a valuable addition to the team. They’ve also been to the playoffs over 10 times each, adding to their value in trying to help the Islanders advance further.
The most convenient part of signing these two players is that it will come at a light cost for the Islanders. It’s well noted that the Islanders have limited cap space to work with this offseason. Fortunately for them, two 36 year old players won’t demand too much money on the free agent market. The low price on both of them will also allow the Islanders to retain space to make other acquisitions. Getting two playoff veterans for around $1-3 million will be an overall great value for them, should they land both players.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today Sports
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