There are very, very few players on the planet that can replace Phil Kessel.
And no, P.A. Parenteau certainly isn’t one of them.
That said, Parenteau isn’t going to be asked to replace the 80~ points that Kessel put up. Parenteau, signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs to a one-year, $1.5M deal this summer, will just need to help out in Toronto’s top six and hopefully rediscover a little bit of that offensive pop that he showed off with the New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche in recent years. The end-goal? Play well enough to keep Toronto’s young AHL core from having to move up to the NHL too soon, and hopefully play well enough to garner another asset at this year’s trade deadline.
A high-scoring winger with Moncton, Chicoutimi and Sherbrooke of the QMJHL, P.A. Parenteau was drafted by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the ninth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Despite continuing his scoring ways after turning pro, it would take nearly seven seasons – 450 AHL games and 403 points, to be exact – before Parenteau was able to break into the NHL full time with the New York Rangers.
After just 22 games in the Big Apple, Parenteau signed on with the Islanders as a free agent and immediately earn himself a spot on the top line beside John Tavares. Parenteau would score 20 goals and 53 points in his first full NHL season, then go on to score 67-in-80 and 43-in-48 over the next two seasons with the Islanders and Avalanche respectively.
While Parenteau’s numbers have dropped in recent years, he’s still a fine offensive player. Last year specifically, Parenteau couldn’t seem to carve out a role for himself with the Montreal Canadiens and also battled injuries. After scoring 22 points in 56 games, the Canadiens bought out the final year of Parenteau’s contract. That’s good news for Toronto, who believe they picked up an underappreciated offensive talent on the cheap. The Leafs also have the kind of roster (a bad one) where they’ll be able to play Parenteau in prime offensive situations.
What to Expect in 2015-16
Parenteau should have the inside track on earning the top line right wing spot, but he’ll face competition from Michael Grabner and Shawn Matthias and maybe Joffrey Lupul if the coaching staff decides they went him on the right side (though, that’s doubtful). If Parenteau does receive top line minutes and prime powerplay opportunities, it’s not unreasonable to think that he could hit a very respectable 60-point pace.
I say pace because it’s a little unlikely that Parenteau finishes the season in Toronto. More likely, the Leafs will try and showcase the 32-year old all season and try to flip him for assets at the trade deadline. If Parenteau is scoring at a 60-point clip, he could certainly fetch a nice haul. This past deadline, Christ Stewart fetched a second round pick while Curtis Glencross was dealt for second and third round picks. Those are reasonable comparisons.
- World Junior Championship Silver Medalist (Halifax 2003)
- AHL Second Team All-Star (2007-08)
- AHL First Team All-Star (2008-09)