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First Look: Former Devils Captain Arrives in Colorado

Zach Parise signed a one-year contract for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

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New Jersey Devils

When former New Jersey Devils captain, Zach Parise, signed with the Colorado Avalanche, it took the NHL world by surprise.

The 39-year-old forward signed a one-year deal for the remainder of the 2023-24 season, worth $825,000, adding to an already strong Avalanche team.

The surprise was not that Parise signed halfway through the season. The former Devils captain had been skating at home in Minnesota to stay in shape for his eventual return to the NHL.

This biggest surprise was that he didn’t sign with the New York Islanders.

Parise stated in his end-of-year availability in the 2022-23 season that, “It’s here or nowhere,” about signing with the Islanders or retiring for this season. However, Parise apparently changed his mind amid a roller coaster Isles season that saw a coaching change from Lane Lambert to Patrick Roy.

Parise opted to play for a more secure situation in order to compete for a Stanley Cup, perhaps one last time.

The Avalanche held a captain’s skate in Colorado on Saturday and Parise took the ice for the first time in Colorado colors. Although Parise wore No.11 for both the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders, it appears he will return to No.9, the number he wore for seven years in New Jersey.

Parise explained following his first practice with the Avalanche on Sunday that he believed he was going to retire following last season. However, he got the itch to play again during training camp. He credited his wife for pushing him toward one last season, according to Ryan Boulding of NHL.com.

According to the Avs head coach, Jared Bednar, Parise will slot on Colorado’s third line with Ryan Johansen and Artturi Lehkonen. The Devils host the Avalanche on Tuesday night at 7:30 PM. The former Devil can potentially make his season and Avalanche debut against his former club.

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