PITTSBURGH – Zach Parise already knows he'll experience a range of emotions when he re-enters Xcel Energy Center on Sunday to square off against the Wild.
But Parise said he's "moved on" from the Wild's decision to buy out his contract.
"It's been a long time," Parise said recently during a Zoom call with reporters ahead of his first game against his former team since that split. "I love where I'm at. We've got a great hockey team here. It's a really fun group of players to be around, and that's just made the transition that much easier."
After being let go by the Wild in July — the team bought out Parise and Ryan Suter when both had four season to go on their matching 13-year, $98 million contracts — Parise signed a one-year contract with the Islanders.
The 37-year-old picked up his first points with his new squad on Thursday, assisting on two goals in a lopsided win at Montreal, and has filled out a bottom-six line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Oliver Wahlstrom.
"Zach is pretty easy to fit into any team as a player because of his work ethic in his detail and just his attitude and his demeanor," said Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who mentioned Parise is looking forward to his homecoming vs. the Wild.
Parise, who ranks third in Wild history in goals (199) and points (400) and seventh in games played (558), will have his family at the game; his wife Alisha and their three children haven't permanently moved to New York, but they've visited Parise.
This will also be Parise's first chance to play in front of Wild fans since crowd restrictions were lifted for this season, a reunion Parise is excited to have.
"It's going to be great," Parise said. "They have such a good fan base there, just loyal fans that love the team. It's a fan base that was always great to me and my family when we were there."