Daniel Briere: The Ultimate Team Player


I didn’t like the P.A. Parenteau for Daniel Briere trade. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked Briere as a player. He and Chris Drury were one of my favorite non-Colorado Avalanche duos during their time in Buffalo and I’ve always admired the way he’s played the game.

But I didn’t like the trade because Briere was 36-years old (he’s now 37) and coming off a season that saw him score 25 points in 69 games. Parenteau on the other hand had scored 33 points in 55 games. It just felt like the Avs could’ve gotten more for Parenteau. And if they couldn’t have gotten more, they could’ve gotten something different. In the offseason, the Avs biggest priority had to be improving the defense. Briere wasn’t going to improve the defense. Cap-wise the trade made a little more sense. Both players carry a cap hit of $4 million but Briere’s contract expires after this season while Parenteau’s isn’t up until after the 2016 season. Still, the trade felt like a lateral move at best and a downgrade at worst.

Parenteau is having a good start to the season with the Montreal Canadiens. He has five points in seven games on the Canadiens second line. Briere only has three points in eight games, but I see why the Avs made this trade.

Daniel Briere is a team player.

His goal with 0.5 seconds left in the game against the Boston Bruins helped give the Avs their first win of the season. In that game he played on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Tanguay. Briere scored his second goal of the season, also the game-winning goal, on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks. He was playing on a line with Cody McLeod and Marc-Andre Cliche.

That’s a a pretty big step down. In fact, Briere only played 6:35 against Vancouver. That was a game low for both teams. Yet Briere finished with a goal and a +1 rating.

This is why the Avs traded for Briere. When Parenteau was in the doghouse last year and in and out of the lineup with injuries, he stopped playing hard. When his minutes were reduced, he became invisible. The Avs didn’t want to go through that again. Their top six forwards were set, so anyone they traded for was going to be a bottom six forward barring any injuries. Maybe they could’ve upgraded the defense with Parenteau, but who knows what kind of offers were out there.

Briere is the perfect bottom six forward. Not only does he bring a ton of experience, leadership, and playoff success to the team, but he’s the type of guy that can fit in on any line. He can do the dirty work for the skill players or he can battle with the grinders. He’s going to give 100% on every shift even if he takes a beating in the process. And he took a beating against the Canucks. But how did he score his goal? He went to the front of the net after a face-off win and looked for the loose puck.

Briere is a guy who can only see the ice for six minutes and still make an impact because he puts the team first. It’s something every player says they do but you can see who truly means it when they are on the ice.

Let’s not forget that despite all of his playoff success, he has 116 points in 124 playoff games, he’s never won a Stanley Cup. He’s lead the playoffs in scoring, but he’s never raised the holy grail over his head. Briere saw the success of the Avalanche last year and knows why he was brought to this team. He knows his role and goes about his business, contributing on the ice when his name is called and contributing off the ice when surrounded by teammates.

Keep this in mind: Briere has more goals than Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly combined. Those two players average 16+ minutes a game while Briere averages around 12. That doesn’t happen by accident. That happens because Briere makes those 12 minutes count and works hard to put himself in a position to score goals. That’s not to say that other guys aren’t working hard, it’s just a compliment to Briere and how he’s fitting in with the team despite his changing linemates and decreased minutes.

Could the Avalanche have gotten more for P.A. Parenteau? On paper, probably. But on and off the ice, it’s tough to ask for more than what they’ve gotten in Daniel Briere.