Guerin Hopes Zach Parise Can Accept New Role and Stay in Minnesota

Photo: Harrison Barden - USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild’s season is over after their latest 1st-round exit in the NHL Playoffs. As a Minnesota sports fan, it’s difficult to even picture a team claiming victory in a first round playoff series or game. It’s now been six years and five playoff appearances since the Wild have won a series in the playoffs (’14-’15 vs Blues – 7 games).

Still, the future is bright for a Minnesota team that’s desperately needed an elite playmaker and goal scorer to go along with an always well-built supporting cast. Now, they have it in Kirill Kaprizov. They also have Kevin Fiala, who might be the most skilled Wild forward not named Kirill, since Marion Gaborik.

But, their biggest point of roster consternation this season came from former team savior, Zach Parise, who was benched at the end of the year and for the first three games of the playoffs. He returned in game four, only because of an injury to Marcus Johansson, and finished the series as one of the Wild’s best looking forwards.

Decision time…

But now it’s decision time for Bill Guerin and Zach Parise, who still has four years on his deal, a no-move clause and a contract nobody wants… except Billy G, apparently. According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Guerin is going to sit down with Parise in the next few days and hopes to talk him into a new role within the Wild that will keep him here for the foreseeable future (next season at least) but stuck on the 3rd or 4th line.

From Guerin’s perspective, though, it sounds like his hope is Parise just embraces a new role that often happens in the twilight years to once terrific players. If Parise would accept this role, the Wild would love him to be part of the future.

But Parise is 36 years old and, at this point, would probably accept a trade to most any contender or a more appetizing situation.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

But it’s doubtful that Guerin wants to or plans to buy out Parise. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if Guerin tries to have a heart-to-heart with Parise in the coming days and attempt to convince him to embrace a third- or fourth-line role as he works to make the team younger, faster and more dangerous.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

What’s Next?

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for the upcoming conversation between Zach and Billy? I sure would…

Nobody’s more plugged in than Russo so you have to believe him when he says Guerin wants Parise back. Would he feel the same way if Zach’s contract wasn’t impossible to move? I guess it doesn’t really matter because that’s the reality.

If Zach wants out, does he agree to waive his no-move clause so Guerin can subject him to the Seattle expansion draft? It’s doubtful the Kracken would take on that type of contract to kick of their franchise but, even if they don’t take Parise, exposing him would allow you to save someone else.

We talked about this for a lot of today’s S.S. Minnesota Podcast (a new show we launched co-hosted by rising star, Stephen Strom and myself — Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. You can also watch live every week on our YouTube channel)

Rough 15 years for Minnesota sports fans…

Life was really good for Minnesota sports fans in the early 2000’s. We had Randy Moss’ Vikings, KG’s Wolves, a brand new hockey team in St. Paul and the M&M “brothers” coming up for a young and promising Twins squad.

By the end of 2007 (my senior year of high school), KG and Moss were gone and the Twins didn’t know it yet but their final playoff win would come in 2004, during a wildcard series vs the Yankees that they’d end up losing 3 games to 1. Since 2007, The Minnesota Vikings have moved beyond their first postseason matchup three times (2019, 2017, 2009). The only other “big four” major pro team to advance past the first round of the postseason in the last 14 years is the Wild in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan