Everybody’s been waiting to see what Scott Parse can bring to the ice.
This weekend, he may get the chance to show them.
The sixth-year pro spent the past two seasons on a one-way contract with the Los Angeles Kings, but had to watch most of both seasons — and last year’s Stanley Cup finals — in street clothes as he sat out with injuries to both hips.
The Kings didn’t re-sign him, but the Devils decided to ink the free agent to an AHL contract and see what he could do, if he could stay healthy.
He hasn’t, playing in just nine games so far with the Albany Devils, handing out two assists. The hip problem reared up again, but he has been skating the last two weeks and is ready to return as soon as Saturday.
“Hopefully, it’s in the past,” Parse said. “I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing again.”
The Albany Devils will play tonight at 7 at Adirondack, then will host the Phantoms on Saturday afternoon at 2 at the Times Union Center.
Parse has spent the season in uncertain health, never playing more than two consecutive games and missing stretches of weeks at a time.
The hope is that he returns healthy enough to stay in the lineup with some consistency. Only then will the Devils see what he may bring to the table.
“We don’t even know, that’s the problem. We don’t even know, because we haven’t seen him,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “I feel for the guy. I had some injuries late in my career, but it’s not late in his career. This is going to be year three for him [with injuries], and I think in his mind, he’s looking at this as, if this doesn’t work this year, if this continues, this might be it for him. He’s very frustrated, it’s been tough on him, and as a coaching staff, you want to see what he can do.
“He, obviously, has a bit of a history here, but I think we’ve seen Scott Parse at 100 percent maybe in two games. So, to say what can he bring? I think right now, we just want to get him in the lineup, get him comfortable and have some consecutive days, weeks and extend that into feeling good, feeling healthy and being able to play at 100 percent.”
Parse played just 14 games over the last two seasons, booking three goals and three assists.
Before that, though, he turned in 11 goals and 13 assists with L.A. in 59 games in the 2009-10 season, which also saw him record four goals and 11 assists in 14 games with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. That seemed to show the Kings he was ready for a more significant role at the top level, and they agreed to a one-way deal for two seasons.
In the short time he has spent so far in the NHL, he has posted .41 points per game. In the AHL, he has put up .55 points per game in 121 regular-season contests (21-45-66) with Grand Rapids, Manchester and Albany.
He was drafted by the Kings in the sixth round of the 2004 draft, between his freshman and soph-omore seasons at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He finished his collegiate career and totalled 79 goals and 118 assists in 159 games (and another 2-1-3 in three postseason games). He was a Hobey Baker finalist as a junior, when he finished with 20 goals and 41 assists in 40 games.
There is little doubt that a healthy Parse could provide a little scoring punch for the Devils.
Albany could use a little more scoring, too, if he can provide it.
In the five games since the NHL unlocked its doors and welcomed home a number of players from the AHL and elsewhere, the Albany Devils have scored an average of 2.6 goals per game and posted a record of 1-2-0-2. In their previous five, they had scored an average of 4.0 and were 4-1-0-0.
“I’ve always been able to make plays and do that part of the game, offensively,” Parse said. “I think the key to my game is skating. When I’m able to do that and feel good, then I’m effective at creating turnovers and getting in on the forecheck, just using my speed to do things. My legs need to be good to do that.”
Left wing Chad Wiseman (lower body) is also available for the weekend, but is likely to play just one game, if at all, and is more likely for Saturday than tonight.
Centerman David Wohlberg (lower body) is unavailable for the weekend.