Zach Parise feels the Minnesota Wild will enter the season with a defined top-six forward group for the first time since he's been on the team. Parise is entering his third season in Minnesota.
The group features Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund.
"It's great for us, and there's a few guys even that if something does happen that can slide right in there and do well," Parise said. "We do have a pretty definitive top six right now, which is going to be really good for us."
The Wild appear ready to enter the season with Koivu and Parise playing apart from each other. They were regular linemates last season. Koivu (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) has been centering a big line with Vanek (6-0, 217) and Coyle (6-3, 221) throughout preseason.
"We needed some size up front and that'll be a good line for us," Parise said.
Parise has been on the left side of a line with Granlund (at center) and Pominville, but his history with Koivu will give coach Mike Yeo the confidence to move Vanek and Parise back and forth between the top-two lines whenever he wants to.
Coyle also played a lot with Koivu and Parise last season. Vanek has a history of playing with Pominville during their days together with the Buffalo Sabres.
"I do think it's good for us to have some flexibility and have a couple different centers that players can play with," Parise said. "Things get stale sometimes and guys get cold so you need to switch things up. I'm sure both Thomas and I will be switching and seeing both."