Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, a look at arguably the top right winger in the Avs’ lineup (which isn’t saying a lot) and a surprising scorer the last few years: PA Parenteau
Who: PA Parenteau
Nicknames: PAP, PA, Parenturnover from some Isles fans.
How He Came to Denver: Signed as unrestricted free agent during 2012 offseason
What he’s done: Before Parenteau arrived in Denver as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2012/13 season, he was mostly a career minor-leaguer before he managed to find himself on a line in Long Island with Matt Moulson and budding superstar center John Tavares.
Turns out, that does a player good as Parenteau, in his first full NHL season at age 27, would go on to a 20-goal, 53-point season. He’d best that the next year, posting 67 points in 80 games alongside Moulson and Tavares before signing with Colorado.
Year 1 with the Avalanche, although shortened, may have been his best yet. Increasing his points-per-game to a career-best .89, he tied Matt Duchene for the team lead in scoring with 43 points in 48 games last season, surprising most who attributed his success to playing with Moulson and Tavares.
What he means to the team currently: Parenteau is going into the season, just as he did last year, as the Avs’ undisputed number one right winger. He’ll likely be matched up with Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly again and will no doubt get as many opportunities as he can handle. No one should be treating him like the guy who came out of left field to have a great year; three good years are enough to make him a guy to be taken seriously.
Parenteau, like the rest of the forwards, will need to be good to mke up for what should be a very bad defense. It’s a lot to ask of him, at age 30, to continue to improve on his points-per-game average (.65 à .83 à .89 in his first three full years) but if he can stay right around that .83 – .89 mark, he’ll have a big year and likely help the Avalanche to a much better showing over the course of a full season. With all of the added talent (Tanguay, a healthy Downie, MacKinnon), the pressure should be off of him to produce and he could end up having his finest season yet.
What to expect: Yeah, it’s a lot to ask of Parenteau to top his points-per-game average for the fourth year in a row but this is the year for him to do it.
With Downie back, Tanguay in the fold, and MacKinnon on the third line, Parenteau will have a chance to get away from top end competition at times this year and, in addition to the power play opportunities, could have his finest season as a pro yet.
He’s not the goal-scoring type (that 20 from his first full season is also a career-high) but his excellent playmaking skills could see the goal totals of Duchene and O’Reilly take off. Look for Parenteau to hover right around .91-.93, which over 81 games (everyone gets a night off) would equate to 74 points. 70-75 isn’t out of the question for Parenteau, who has quietly become a reliable scorer and one of the best the Avalanche have to offer.
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