Why it’s better to own Zach Parise over Alex Steen…
This week's match features Alexander Steen versus Zach Parise. Will Steen be more than a one season wonder, and will Parise find a way to recapture the magic from his years with the Devils? Time to find out – Cage Match starts now!
Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications
Although Steen is considered by many to be a "come from nowhere" breakout performer, he actually was a highly touted prospect back in the day. In fact, both Steen and Parise were former first rounders, with Parise being grabbed by the Devils 17th overall in 2003 while Steen was chosen by the Maple Leafs 24th overall just one year earlier. Both ended up debuting in the NHL in 2005-06, with Steen having played several years in Sweden and Parise playing a combination of college and AHL hockey. And they now have played in nearly the same number of career games (617 for Parise, 605 for Steen).
Parise was a 60+ point scorer by his second year, while Steen put up several middling seasons with the Maple Leafs before being dealt to St. Louis in 2008, and still didn't crack the 50 point plateau until the 2010-11 season, when he put up 51 in 72 games (58 point full season pace). And although Steen's numbers this year were unprecedented (62 points in 68 games – projecting to 75 points over 82 games), he had managed to score 55 points in his prior 83 games during 2011-12 and 2012-13, so he was flirting with a breakout over the past several years.
With Parise, he's twice achieved point per game numbers (94 in 82 games in the 2008-09 season, and 82 in 81 games in 2009-10), but has never actually finished a season with between 70 and 80 points, and has scored at a 60-70 point pace in each of his two seasons with Minnesota — 38 points in 48 games in 2012-13 (projecting to 64 over 82 games) and 56 in 67 games in 2013-14 (projecting to 68 in 82 games).
Parise was a marquee free agent before signing with Minnesota in 2012; and his current contract reflects that status at 13 years, $98M, translating to a yearly cap hit of $7.538M (tied for 9th highest in the entire NHL for 2013-14). Steen just finished a four year, $13.45M contract ($3.36M yearly cap hit), and was re-signed by the Blues in December for three more years at $5.8M per year. So Steen is still a bargain compared to Parise going forward, but far less so than he was through this season.