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Parenteau Gives The Preds Scoring Depth At Reasonable Cost

This is a good trade.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

And so another trade deadline day has come and gone. The Predators made a move, just maybe not the sexy one that some may have expected.

Some people may have been expecting David Poile to go out and get a difference-making forward like Matt Duchene or Tyler Johnson, but instead he made a very frugal, bargain bin acquisition that could easily pay off down the stretch. Acquiring P.A. Parenteau from the Devils for a 6th round pick, the Preds added some quality, veteran scoring to their middle six.

So what does Parenteau bring to the table?

He Can Shoot, He Can Score

A career 11.9% shooter, Parenteau has always had an above average right handed shot. But it isn’t just that he can rip wrist shots or boom slap shots. He scores in a variety of ways. I went and watched all of Parenteau’s goals from this season and I was pretty impressed. He does a lot of things well.

Here’s some examples of his scoring skills against some of the league’s best goaltenders and Corey Crawford.

He’s scored 13 goals on the season and an awful lot of them have looked like that last one. I wouldn’t call them garbage goals, really... more like positioning goals. He does a great job at finding narrow open spaces in front of the net and attacking them.

Here’s his 5v5 unblocked shot locations courtesy of HockeyViz:

And where’s the weakest area of the Predators scoring attack? Oh yeah...

Power Play Assistance

Do you remember the Predators going 4 for 46 on the power play in the playoffs last year? I sure do. And so does David Poile apparently.

Parenteau isn’t Alex Ovechkin, but he is a decent power play asset that the Predators can plug in immediately.

In a 20 goal campaign with the Islanders back in 2010-11, Parenteau scored nine of those goals on the power play. That tied the team lead for the Islanders along with John Tavares. Some may have expected that type of power play production to be a fluke, but Parenteau has turned his power play ability into something of a trend.

Since that season, Parenteau has scored 36 power play goals in 456 games. That may not sound like a lot, but its more than Rick Nash, Paul Stastny, and the Preds own Mike Fisher in just as many games. It’s even more than Anze Kopitar, who’s put up 36 power play goals in 503 games since that season.

I’m not trying to argue that he’s a power play guru or anything. Just that it’s a strength of his. And he does it by doing what he normally does: attacking the front of the net, positioning himself well, and shooting the puck with skill.

Offense With A Reasonable Amount Of Defense

There’s no question that Parenteau is an offensively minded winger. He has built a 483 game career with his offensive abilities and has scored 114 goals in that time.

It’s not just his shooting, though. He can play an above average puck possession game, generating a career 51.1% shot attempt for percentage at even strength. Also, when he is out on the ice, his team shoots more and scores more than the opponent.

(Over his last three seasons)

That’s solid. But what about defense?

Having not watched a lick of the New Jersey Devils this season—other than the Parenteau goals and whenever they played the Predators—I can’t really speak for Parenteau’s defensive abilities. It doesn’t appear that he lays an egg when the puck in the defensive zone, just going by what the numbers suggest. He looks serviceable.

Some may point to his -17 plus/minus rating this year as an indication that he’s a liability, but the Devils, boy, they are bad. They have a -35 goal differential as a team. Ignore junk stats, especially from junk teams.

Low Risk, High Reward

Parenteau’s cap hit is a very reasonable $1.25 million. To acquire him cost only a 6th round pick.

If all he does is come in and score a few goals down the stretch and then maybe one or two in the postseason, it will be a successful trade. If he does more than that and becomes a reliable source of scoring for a team that has had inconsistency in the bottom half of the depth chart, then it will be one of the better steals in Poile’s recent history.

So Where Does He Fit?

Parenteau likely fits best on the Fisher line with either Craig Smith or Kevin Fiala on the other wing. I could also see him on the Jarknrok line with Colin Wilson, but it looks like James Neal’s 4th line days are over, so he probably slots there. Speaking of the 4th line, Parenteau doesn’t belong there. We can talk about maybe who does belong there (Craig Smith) but it isn’t Parenteau.

Parenteau will need some time to gel with his new linemates, as well as he might need time to adjust to a new head coach and a winning team mentality. But I would expect Preds fans will enjoy his stay here in Nashville even if it is only for a few months.