Top 10 Americans To Watch in 2011-2012

USA Hockey Magazine is counting down the top 10 Americans to watch in 2011-2012. In no particular order, this list features players and personnel from all different levels.

2. Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils

HEIGHT: 5-11

Sept. 29 Ryan Callahan
Oct. 1
Tyler Biggs
Oct. 2
Dean Blais
Oct. 3
Seth Jones
Oct. 4
Knight, Decker
Oct. 5
Ron Wilson
Oct. 6
David Backes
Oct. 7
Rocco Grimaldi
Oct. 8
Zach Parise
Oct. 9
Tim Thomas

WEIGHT: 195

BORN: July 28, 1984

HOMETOWN: Faribault, Minnesota

LAST SEASON:  Scored 6 points in only 13 games for the Devils

Zach Parise is kind of a big deal.

Devils fans were reminded of that fact in a big way after the team’s heart and soul suffered a season-crippling knee injury. He only played 13 games and New Jersey put forth an embarrassing first half.

The good news?

He’s back. He’s healthy. He’s motivated. In the two seasons previous his injury, Parise amassed 176 points, including 83 goals and 93 assists while missing only one game.

The news (or speculation) you’ll most likely be hearing about?

Parise only signed a one-year deal with New Jersey, setting him up as a potential unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Whether it was a persuasion tactic or simply an obvious choice, the Devils gave Parise the “C.”

The 2010 Olympic silver medalist is already sick of hearing about it. He’s told reporters, including Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com that he wants to stay in a Devils sweater:

Parise, who reached a deal in July to avoid arbitration with the Devils, cannot be re-signed until Jan. 1, 2012. Whether he remains with the organization that drafted him in 2003 or becomes a sought-after free agent remains to be seen. When asked about what the leadership post meant to his future with the team, Parise was ready.

"What did that take, five questions?" he said jokingly. "I was expecting that to be talked about today. I don't know how many times I have to say it: I'm here and I want to be here."

Until Parise signs – or doesn’t sign – an extension with New Jersey, he’ll have to answer that question all season. Every team and fan base would drool at the opportunity to land this multi-faceted forward.

For those skills and this situation, he’s definitely high on our list. Bear with us, Devils faithful.

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