Nashville Predators can upgrade forward depth with cost-effectiveness by bringing in veteran journeyman.
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau proved to be an A+ pickup for the Toronto Maple Leafs last offseason. Riding a 1-year ‘prove it’ contract that only cost the team $1.5 million, the winger led a rebuilding and talent starved franchise with 20 goals and tallied up the second most points on the club, marking 41 in 77 games.
The 33-year-old forward managed to break even in plus/minus on the league’s worst team, sparking Toronto’s desire to engage him in talks of extending his tenure as a Leaf. But if unsigned by July 1st, Parenteau will be in the open waters of free agency, and the Nashville Predators should be circling with their checkbook out.
What Does He Bring to Smashville?
Parenteau is a veteran offensive presence who has grown to harness top-tier possession metrics as indicated by this article at Editor in Leaf. He has marked seasons of 53 and 67 points in his career, as well as featured an incredible output of 43 points during the 48-game strike-shortened season.
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The right-handed shooter can play either wing and would be an upgrade over both Colin Wilson’s regular season form and an improving Calle Jarnkrok, who could be shifted to center with the acquisition if need be. Parenteau proved he can perform admirably as a true top-line winger last season, but at his age could benefit from taking the minutes of a second or third line role, rounding out a solid Nashville forward corps, and adding much needed scoring depth.
What Does He Cost?
The reason why P. A. Parenteau has necessitated an article is because he falls within the Predator’s price range if they wish to add a piece while retaining the core of their team- meaning the looming contract demands of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and James Neal. He’s a realistic option, if we’re setting aside the lofty ambitions of acquiring a Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, or Steven Stamkos.
Parenteau is due to receive a raise over his $1.5 million contract last season, but he is still very much considered a cost-effective option after having issues with health and scratches during his most recent stint in Montreal. If looking to create a number for bringing in a veteran, look at the veteran contract estimates Nashville has constructed recently:
Eric Nystrom: $2.5 mil/year, Paul Gaustad: $3.25 mil/year, Mike Ribeiro: $3.5 mil/year. Look for a number somewhere around/between Nystrom and the Goose- both contracts Nashville will lose this offseason.
Should He/Would He/Could He?
If Parenteau can fill Eric Nystrom’s spot on the ice for around a similar cap hit- chalk it up as a big win for Smashville. A top-line forward and arguably an NHL team’s best performer for the cap void left by Paul Gaustad? Take it and run.
The scary thing about free agency is shelling out loads of money for a player whose previous team was unwilling (though sometimes unable) to create the cap space to bring them back. Toronto, however, wants Parenteau back- which tells us good things about his value to a club, and that Nashville should be interested should he hit free agency.
The Canadian’s name has come to be associated with risk, and may not necessarily inspire excitement around Nashville Predators water cooler talks- but staying healthy while being surrounded by a marked upgrade in talent could see the winger rise to a 50-point scorer once again at the price of a fourth-liner. That’s something to be excited about.
The veteran acquisition would add a needed piece at the wings while allowing the franchise to focus their salary on retaining the star players that took the Nashville Predators to the brink of the Western Conference Finals last season. This offseason Nashville needs to keep their priorities straight, and a Parenteau signing would improve the team while doing so.