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NHL.com names Parise best American in the game

Zach Parise scored nine more goals and tallied 24 more points than any American in the NHL last season. With that, the former UND forward left little doubt who is the best U.S. player is in the game today. On Tuesday, NHL.com -- not surprisingly ...

Zach Parise
New Jersey Devils' Zach Parise, the former UND hockey star.(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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Zach Parise scored nine more goals and tallied 24 more points than any American in the NHL last season.

With that, the former UND forward left little doubt who is the best U.S. player is in the game today.

On Tuesday, NHL.com -- not surprisingly -- said as much when it released its list of the top 10 Americans playing hockey.

Parise, a forward for the New Jersey Devils, tops the NHL's list. Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas ranks second, followed by Chicago forward Patrick Kane, Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller and Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski, who played at Wisconsin.

Parise tallied 45 goals and 94 points in his fourth NHL season. He played in his first All-Star Game and will be a slam-dunk selection to make the U.S. Olympic roster for the 2010 Games.

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Earlier this season, NHL analyst Troy Murray -- a former Sioux forward -- raved about Parise's all-around game.

"He is one of those guys who comes along and you know right away that there's something special," Murray told the Herald. "He's got great vision, he skates well, he scores goals. Any time you look at the top players in the game, they are guys who make the players around them better. He does that.

"He came into the league with a great past to live up to with his father (J.P.) Zach is certainly more well-rounded than his father."

Parise is particularly noted for his defensive play. He finished second among Americans in plus-minus rating (plus-30) and added 65 hits and 34 takeaways.

"It's hard to argue against him (being the best American)," UND coach Dave Hakstol told the Herald. "You certainly won't get an argument from me. It's just because of how complete a player he is."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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Manning needed 24 points to break the school record held by Kyle Sanden, who scored 1,549 points in the mid-1990s.