NHL Rumors: Zach Parise Close To A Return—With Surprise Team

After last season ended, Zach Parise, approaching his 39th birthday, was unsure if he would be up for a 19th NHL season. But after signing one-year contracts with the New York Islanders in each of the two previous years, one thing he did tell the Isles faithful while packing up for the summer was that if he did return, "It's here or nowhere." 

Now, however, it sounds like "nowhere" is actually Denver. 

Rumors making the rounds seem to indicate that Parise could be close to signing a deal for the rest of this season—with the Colorado Avalanche.

NHL Insider Michael Russo of The Athletic dropped the nugget on the Talk North Podcast network. 

Zach Parise is close to signing, by the way. I think it's going to happen in the next couple of days. My guess is that he'll skate through the end of the All-Star Break and then be ready to debut. I think Colorado is the team he's going to. I think Boston's had interest, but I think the Islanders are out. 

The Islanders had said since the beginning of this season that they'd "keep the door open" for Parise to return, but maybe it's getting a little drafty and time to close that door. 

Parise has had a tremendous 18-year career, but a Stanley Cup is the one thing that's eluded him, and safe to say that joining the Avalanche gives him a much better shot than the Islanders would. The Avs are currently tied for 1st place in the Central Division and are, once again, a legitimate Cup contender. The Isles, meanwhile, sit in 5th in the Metro, and two points out of a Wild Card spot.

And it's not like Parise has been just mailing it in the past couple of years, even at his advanced age. Last season with the Islanders, he potted 21 goals, while blocking 83 shots—4th best among forwards in the NHL.

Over his illustrious career, the Minnesota native recorded 429 goals and 450 assists for 879 points in 1,224 games, with his hometown Wild (9 years), the New Jersey Devils (7 seasons), and the last two with the Islanders.

 Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports