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Were Zach Parise And Eric Staal Almost Bruins?

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According to two recent pieces by Michael Russo of The Athletic, the Boston Bruins came close to acquiring both star forward Zach Parise, back in 2012, and then veteran center Eric Staal at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline.

The Bruins, of course, did end up making a trade with the Wild, as they acquired forward and Weymouth, MA native Charlie Coyle in exchange for Duxbury, MA native, and son of former Bruin and Harvard head coach ted Donato, and a 2020 fifth round pick. The Wild meanwhile, signed Staal to a two-year, $6.5 million extension. According to Russo’s NHL sources though, Bruins GM Don Sweeney also had Staal in the crosshairs leading into the trade deadline. 

So why is all of this becoming public now?

Well, it’s been a chaotic week for the Minnesota Wild, to say the least. Saturday an extensive and revealing 1-on-1 with Wild alternate captain Zach Parise by Michael Russo of the Athletic had Parise worrying that he may never win a Stanley Cup if remains in Minnesota for the remaining six years – with a $7.5 million AAV – left on the 13-year, $98 million contract he signed on July 4, 2012. Then three days later the Wild suddenly fired general manager Paul Fenton just over a year into his tenure with the Wild. In the aftermath of the Fenton firing Russo wrote an extensive piece looking into why Fenton had been relieved of his duties only 15 months into his tenure with the Wild.

“Fenton also nearly traded Jason Zucker at the trade deadline to the Calgary Flames on the same day he signed Eric Staal to a two-year extension rather than trading him to what sources said was the Boston Bruins,” Russo wrote.

As for how Parise, a Minnesota native, may have become a Bruin, that was revealed in that sit-down Russo did with Parise that came out Saturday. 

The 35-year-old forward acknowledged to Russo that when he was an unrestricted free agent in 2012, he seriously considered signing in Boston before he narrowed his choices down to the New Jersey Devils and the Wild. He also acknowledged that it has been difficult seeing all those teams he was interested, besides the Devils, go further than the Wild in the playoffs since then.

From Russo:

“It also hasn’t helped Parise’s psyche that he has watched several teams he turned down to sign with Minnesota — teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Washington and Boston — win it all or go to the Final.”

“That part is awful,” Parise admits. “Of course, my mind does wander. Like hey, I had this offer from this team, this team, this team. But, signing here, I’ve loved everything away from the rink, we’ve had some really good teams and, like I said, I would never trade that time that I got to spend with my dad.”

Parise has scored 167 goals and notched 169 assists in 444 games since signing with the Wild. No one will ever know what he would’ve done in Boston or if he had won a Stanley Cup, but at least Bruins fans can know that he wanted to be part of a decade of hockey in Boston that has seen the Bruins go to the Stanley Cup twice.

With over 18 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 15 of his 18 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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