P.A. Parenteau: The Isles Unsung Hero
I wrote a piece back in October entitled, "P.A. Perfect?" that discussed whether or not the first line winger would be able to continue on his hot streak that began at the start of the season. As of now, according to TSN's calculations, he is on pace for a 68 point season. Those 68 points would be spread about 14 goals and 54 assists, a production total that his line mates Matt Moulson and John Tavares are more or less both on pace for as well.
I say that because when you look at the Islanders statistics, those three are the very top in the points category with Parenteau and Moulson tied for 28 for the team lead and JT right behind them with 27. After that, the offense dwindles with defenseman Mark Streit checking in with 18 points and Frans Nielsen being the next forward in line with a total of 15 points in 33 games.
But I am not here to talk about the Islanders terrible offensive production that has plagued them all season long. Parenteau, as stated in the past, is a player that many felt would be the odd man out, seeing himself off the Island by the end of the year. To the contrary, his ability to raise his game to another level after establishing himself as an NHL hockey player last year for the first time in his career has displayed that he is more than just a point stealer on Tavares' wing; he is a vital member of this hockey team.
When head coach Jack Capuano needed to shuffle up the lines to look for a spark to create some offense, Parenteau was someone who didn't miss a beat. He was placed on a line with Brian Rolston and Frans Nielsen and continued to play well. In fact, he even made those around him better, keeping his hands in motion as the assist man to his other two line mates.
However, the bottom line is that Parenteau has been at his best, and has made those around him play even better, when with Moulson and Tavares. Those numbers don't lie; they are the Islanders' best threesome and cannot be separated if this team wants to keep winning hockey games. Luckily Tavares broke his scoring slump against the Toronto Maple Leafs the other night. If Tavares can get back in the goal column, not only will Parenteau's points increase, but this team is likely to win a hell of a lot more hockey games.
Parenteau's contributions to this team do go beyond what everyone sees on the ice as well. I have been in the locker room for plenty of wins and losses this season and Parenteau is one of the guys who wears his heart on his sleeve after every single game. When they win the team is always in a good mood; plenty of jokes are made and each player is willing to talk about the game as long as needed. But when this team loses, Parenteau is one of the guys who looks like he takes it the hardest.
There has been more than one occasion where I have seen other players getting dressed, moving in and out of stalls and the hallways getting ready to hit the bikes or pack up their bags for the next game after a loss. Parenteau usually is sitting alone in front of his stall, half undressed with his head down staring at the floor and his arms crossed. He's one of those guys that you are almost afraid to talk to, not because he's impolite (he has always been a pleasure to talk to), but because you know that each game meant something to him. He's a player who doesn't take his time spent with the Islanders for granted being that he is 28, turning 29 in March and only in his second full season in the National Hockey League.
He may be an impending unrestricted free agent, but I would be very surprised if the Islanders do not lock up this guy beyond next season. Guys like Tavares and Moulson have had high expectations since they established themselves as the team's top duo two seasons ago. This year there is no question that P.A. Parenteau is this team's unsung hero.