Last season was a bit of a down year for Colorado Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau. He had 14 goals and 19 assists for a total of 33 points in 55 games. He dealt with several injury problems throughout the year that limited his availability, and when he was on the ice he rarely seemed to be at 100 percent. Still, the fact that 33 points now constitutes a down year for Parenteau shows how far he has come in his hockey career.
Parenteau was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the 9th round of the 2001 NHL Draft. That was. of course, a very late selection, keeping in mind that the draft doesn't even have nine rounds anymore. He wouldn't be a rookie in the NHL for another eight years, as he spent a great deal of time going from team to team in the AHL. Numerous NHL organizations had his big league signing rights during that time, but it seemed that he wouldn't ever actually get a regular role on an NHL roster. That all changed when a desperate New York Islanders team found a spot for him in the 2010-2011 season.
The Islanders had been (and in many ways still are) a franchise struggling to climb out of the league's bottom tier of teams. Teams that were higher up the pecking order had no need to experiment with an unproven player, so it stood to reason that a team like the Islanders would be the most likely to call on a player who many viewed as a career minor league guy. Parenteau didn't need much time after that to shed the minor league label.
Parenteau exploded into the NHL after having waited almost a decade to be given a chance. All the time he spent honing his craft in the AHL clearly paid off, as he scored 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points in his first full season in the NHL. He followed that up with 18 goals and 49 assists for a still career high 67 points the next year with the Islanders. After that, he became a free agent, and the brass in Colorado knew they wanted him. The strike shortened 2013 season was Parenteau's first in Colorado, and he led the team with 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in the abbreviated 48 game campaign.
In his first three NHL seasons, Parenteau had a total of 56 goals and 107 assists for 163 points in 209 games. Rather suddenly, the expectations for Parenteau became changed completely. Some pundits thought that Parenteau's numbers were inflated because of playing alongside one of the league's best talents in John Tavares, but Parenteau remained just as productive after joining the Avalanche. So, a full NHL season in which he scored 33 points is now clearly less than what we know he is capable of.
Parenteau should return to his top-6 forward duties next season, though it is debatable which line he will regularly play on. He has split his time between the top line and the second, and has even been relied on to provide the third line with a production boost when injuries have forced the team to shake up the lines. Whatever the case, Parenteau is a proven NHL player now, and as long as the Avalanche have him, he will be a valuable veteran contributor to the team.
UPDATE: As P.A. Parenteau has been traded as of June 30, the above preview has been effectively nullified.
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