The Islanders Need P.A Parenteau
As speculation over P.A Parenteau's desire to hit the free agent market continues to grow, so does the restlessness of the Isles' fan base. (Clydeorama/Flickr)
With David Jones of the Colorado Avalanche receiving a $4 million a year deal for four years, the money and market for Parenteau may have grown that much stronger. While David Jones and P.A Parenteau were statistically far apart during the 2011-2012 NHL season, the former amassed 30 less points than Parenteau and was given a contract that might just make it that much harder for the Islanders and Parenteau to come to terms.
Some might argue that the contract that David Jones received from the Avalanche was a bit overpriced, but getting Parenteau at the same rate would not be such a bad signing for the Islanders. Parenteau spent the majority of his time between the first and second line during the 2011-2012 season and managed to register 67 points (18 Goals, 49 Assists) in 80 games played. Even though some may think that it is not worth overpaying for Parenteau, the forward plays an essential role for the New York Islanders and would be hard to replace if he chooses to sign with a different team during free agency.
For the Islanders, Parenteau was not just another forward who managed to put up 67 points during the 2011-2012 season. Instead, Parenteau was more of a stabilizing force for the Isles' offense and provided some much needed balance for the top six forwards even as he was being shuffled between the team's first two lines. Some may believe that Parenteau may want too much money, but the positives outweigh the negatives when looking at the forward's possible signing. Not only would signing Parenteau to a multi-year deal provide the Isles with a top-six forward for the next few years, but it would help get the team to the cap floor, something that they have barely done over the past few seasons.
Finding a replacement for Parenteau would not be that easy of a task either as the Islanders have had some difficulty attracting free agents over the last few off-seasons. While Kyle Okposo would provide the Islanders with a big body and physical presence alongside Matt Moulson and John Tavares, Okposo's long-term capabilities and play on the Isles' first line are yet to be seen. Garth Snow has done a great job stockpiling young talent, but hoping to replace Parenteau's production from within the system might not help the Isles get too far out of the doldrums of the Atlantic Division. Ryan Strome, Casey Cizikas, David Ullstrom, and countless other young prospects in the Isles' system are undoubtedly waiting for their shot in the NHL, but getting Parenteau on board for the next few seasons would prevent the team from having to rely on a prospect that might not be ready to contribute at the professional level.
Parenteau has expressed his desire to return to Long Island, but time is ticking as there is a little more than two weeks left before the free agency period begins. While it may be costly for the Isles to retain the forward's services, losing the winger would deal the Islanders a blow that would be hard to recover from. The New York Islanders certainly have the finances to re-sign Parenteau, but the team is forced to work under the $6 Million range as the winger cannot be paid as much as franchise star John Tavares. Since David Jones received a $16 Million contract over four years, Parenteau might feel as though he should be entitled to the same amount of money (if not more) because of his greater offensive output during the 2011-2012 regular season. Nobody said that coming to terms with Parenteau would be an overly simple task with the market for forwards being particularly thin this off-season, but the forward was one of New York's top three producers and was able to make plays for his teammates on multiple lines last season.
As previously mentioned, sixty-seven points will not be easy to replace for the Isles, especially when one considers the fact that the next closest scorers to Parenteau were Frans Nielsen and Mark Streit with 47 points a piece. While there might be some prospects in the system that feel ready enough to get their shot at the NHL-level, the Islanders must try to lock up their core players for the next several seasons. Re-signing Parenteau would go a long way for a team that is still growing as a collective unit and getting the forward back for the next few seasons would help the young Islanders maintain the chemistry that they have been building together over the last couple of NHL seasons.