Morning Forecheck: Zach Parise A Healthy Scratch, Max Comtois Continues Strong Start For Ducks

Photo Credit: Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images 

Welcome to the Morning Forecheck, where I look at some of the news and notes around the league and put my own spin on it. Be sure to subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.

Zach Parise, Healthy Scratch in Minnesota

For the first time since signing with the Minnesota Wild, Zach Parise was a healthy scratch for their 5-1 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights.

It's an unfortunate milestone for the former first round pick of the New Jersey Devils, who said he didn't agree with the benching, but vowed to use the opportunity to his advantage and get some rest.

"It was disappointing. And I don't agree with the decision," Parise said before the game. "I'm not sure I'm going to look back on it and say it was a wake-up call, but maybe I can use the rest to my advantage and be ready when we come back."

When Parise signed with the Wild during the 2012 offseason, Minnesota was making a giant push in order to become relevant. They also signed defenseman Ryan Suter to a giant contract along with Parise.

Parise, now 36, has played in over 500 games with the Wild but injuries and inconsistencies has kept him from reaching the same level he once was at with the Devils. 

He combined for 176 points during the 2008-2009, 2009-2010 campaigns and received votes for the Hart Trophy, Lady Byng, and Selke both years.

With Minnesota, his best season came in 2014-2015, when he registered 33 goals and 62 points in 74 games played.

Parise in towards the end of a 13 year deal, with four seasons left after the current one.

When Parise and Suter signed with the Wild, they were expected to make a push that just never came. In their time in Minnesota they have failed to get out of the second round both times they have made it there.

Minnesota is a different team now, relying on a younger core of players making Parise more of a role player. He has just three goals (nine points total) in 19 games this season.

Max Comtois Remains Lone Bright Spot For Ducks

Hate to take away from the night that Trevor Zegras scored his first NHL goal, but it was yet another loss for the Anaheim Ducks last night. With one win in the last 10 games played, things aren't looking so bright for the Ducks.

It has really just been the emergence of Max Comtois that has been worth mentioning, as the former second round pick scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season.

When it comes to scoring, no one on the Ducks have come close to Comtois, as Isac Lundestrom comes in a somewhat distant second place with five goals scored.

The Ducks are in the midst of a youth movement this season. They put Adam Henrique on waivers after leading the team in scoring just last season.

Instead they have given the reigns to the next generation of players, as in Comtois, Lundestrom and most recently Zegras.

Comtois, 22, has been one of the better 5v5 goal scorers this season, averaging 1.86 per 60-minutes played. That places him sixth among forwards with at least 200 minutes at 5v5. Some of the recognizable names above him? Auston Matthews (1.89) and Logan Couture (2.04).

There are other players the Ducks would like to see take that next step, as in Sam Steel, Troy Terry and Max Jones, but for now Comtois has come through as one of the better players on the roster.

What To Watch: March 4

The Pittsburgh Penguins continue their three game set against the instate rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite being without captain Sidney Crosby, the Penguins escaped with a convincing 5-2 victory in their previous meeting on Tuesday.

Montreal continues try to get on the right path, under a new coach, and they will do so against the Winnipeg Jets. Now second in the division, Winnipeg has won both games against the Canadiens this season with six more to go, including tonight.


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