It's been nearly nine years since Zach Parise signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild. Now stuck at home like the rest of Minnesota, Parise took some time away from watching Ozark and Modern Family on Thursday to remember how he got here.
"I was looking a lot at Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Minnesota and L.A. Those were the teams that I remember being most interested at the time," said Parise during his appearance with Phil Mackey, Judd Zulgad and Declan Goff on SKOR North's Minnesota Sports Rewind segment.
"My agents were pretty convinced that with the players that Minnesota had coming up in their system that it was going to be a good team and be a good team for a while. For me that was important. I didn't a lot about the players, to be honest," Parise admitted.
"It was more so I was relying on their opinion, talking about [Mikael] Granlund and [ Nino] Neiderreiter and these guys they had coming up, [Charlie] Coyle and [Jason] Zucker. I had never seen them play but I had heard about them through them and kind of relied on their information about them."
That core group of the Wild, along with Parise and Ryan Suter, reached the playoffs six years in a row but never got past the second round, largely due to the fact that they were bounced from the postseason three years in a row by the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty.
"Having not gotten past the second round, I hope the future has a little better to hold for us," Parise said, noting that he really believed they were one key player from getting over the hump. "We had really good teams then, but I guess to this point I know it's not the best thing ever, but making playoffs six times in a row ... was a good accomplishment."
Minnesota was one point out of a wild-card spot when the novel coronavirus pandemic stopped the current NHL season in its tracks. There is no timeline for being able to resume the season, but Parise was pleased with how the Wild were playing at the time everything halted.
"I really like the way we were playing before this virus, I guess the stoppage happened, I liked the way we were playing," he said. "Who knows once they get in, but I think that the development of some of the players that we have – and they're only going to get better – I still think we've got one of the better defensive corps in the league.
"We'll see where it goes, but I do think after almost a little bit of a rebuild on the fly, I think (General Manager) Bill [Guerin] is going to do a really good job and get this team in the right direction."