Zach Parise is well aware of his new head coach's reputation for being a defensive-minded coach.
Still, the Devils left wing, who scored a career-high 45 goals last season under Brent Sutter, also saw how Marian Gaborik scored 42 goals in 2007-08 and scored at least 30 four other times while playing for Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota. (Gaborik had 38 goals in 65 games in 2005-06 and 30 in 48 games in 2006-07).
So, Parise believes he will have the same opportunities to excel offensively as he had under Sutter.
"You look at a guy like Gaborik in Minnesota, it looked like he always did pretty well," Parise said. "He always put up good numbers there. So, I don't think anybody is going to be held back by any means. I don't think anybody is going to be held back from their strength. I just have a hard time believing that would be the way it is. Just looking at a guy like Gaborik, he scored 40-something goals in a year. So, hopefully, the offense will still be there."
The Wild struggled offensively when Gaborik was sidelined for most of 2008-09 following hip surgery, which led to the team tightening up even more offensively. But Parise believes that Lemaire will do his best to utilize the skiilled offensive players the Devils have.
"You coach the team you have and the players you have," Parise said. "If you don't have a lot of scorers, you've got to play your strengths and the way you need to play to win games. Whether that means locking it down and trying to win 1-0, at the end of the day you've got to win games. But I think we have a lot of offense. We have a lot of scoring, guys that can score, and that's our strength. So, I just don't see any of that changing."
Parise believes it is important that Devils continue to play the aggressive forecheck that Sutter installed during his two years with the team.
"I think the aggressive way is the way to play," Parise said. "When we started to play more passive last year toward the end of the season that's when we started not to play as well. If you look at the teams that made if far this year, they all play an aggressive style of hockey and I just hope that we won't lose that because I think we were a pretty good hockey team when we were playing that way."
Parise experienced it first hand the defensive system Lemaire used in Minnesota when playing against the Wild.
"It's tough to say when you've never played for him," Parise said. "From playing against them, I knew how defensive they were in Minnesota. But (Brian) Rolston played for him for a few years and said he's the best coach he's ever had. Obviously, Lou did his research and knows what's best for us."
Parise said he read the speculation that Lemaire would be the head coach in newspapers, "so I wasn't really surprised."
"From what everyone was saying, it kind of pointed in that direction," he said.