Has Parenteau Lost His Spot on the Montreal Canadiens’ Roster?

Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau has been on the sidelines since January 15th, kept away by concussion-like symptoms. His absence did not impair the Montreal Canadiens, the team has a record of 8-2-1 without Parenteau. With the trade deadline approaching we can start wondering if the Habs really need P.A. Parenteau.

Four Quarters For A Dollar

When it was announced that Daniel Brière had been traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Parenteau in return, fans rejoiced. The trade was called an obvious steal. It sure seemed like it on the surface. Brière, 37, who tallied 25 points in 69 games and earning $4 million dollars. Parenteau, 31, scored 33 points in 55 games and a $4 million cap hit.

But if you look at his regular season stats and compare them to Daniel Briere’s statistics with the Habs last year, in an identical sample of 40 games, it becomes much less obvious that Parenteau is an upgrade on Briere.

In the first 40 games of the season, P.A. Parenteau notched 15 points. 6 goals and 9 assists. Briere had 14 points, 7 goals and 7 assists. Parenteau averaged 14:55 of ice time, a good chunk of which was on the first line and first PP unit . Briere averaged 12:29 of ice time over his first 40 games last year, shuffling between the second and fourth line. Parenteau has 72 shots on net, Briere had 61 shots in the same amount of games.

In less time and with less shots, Daniel Briere managed to score one more goal than Parenteau. That’s a Shooting% of 11.5 for Briere and 8.3 for Parenteau. More importantly, Briere spread his offense a little more,  7 goals coming in 6 different games contrary to Parenteau’s 6 goals scored in 4 different games. A very important detail for a team that struggled to score goals for most of the season, especially on the road. Parenteau has 2 goals on the road (both of them against the Sabres) to Briere’s 3.

Other than age, Parenteau doesn’t hold much over his predecessor. The Canadiens had to get rid of Briere after his relationship with the coaching staff soured. Parenteau had to leave Colorado after his relationship with the coaching staff soured. The two teams traded problems. Four quarters for a dollar. Even Steven.

Sorry, This Seat Is Taken

Parenteau started his season on the first line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. The line was disbanded to give Alex Galchenyuk some time in the middle of Pacioretty and Gallagher. Parenteau and Desharnais were demoted to the third line.

Galchenyuk is back on left-wing and Pacioretty and Desharnais were reunited once again. This time with Dale Weise.

Weise shocked the Montreal Canadiens’ fan base. People were reluctant to have him on the top line. Weise rose to the occasion and strung a few good games in a row on that top line.

Weise has an undeniable chemistry with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. He brings something Parenteau doesn’t. A blue-collar work ethic, the more the game is on the line, the harder he works.

At 5v5 Close, Weise has a team best 3.6 GoalsFor/60 and 1.02 GoalsAgainst/60 for a GoalsFor% of 75.0 and a Shooting % of 10.43.

Parenteau has 0.62 GoalsFor/60 and 2.18 GoalsAgainst/60 for a GoalsFor% of 38.9 and a Shooting% of 3.08, second last behind Manny Malhotra.

Weise fights for the puck in the corners and crashes the net. Parenteau tends to hover around the faceoff circles and half-boards. Weise’s efforts brought him success. He is tied with David Desharnais for fifth in team scoring at even strength with 21 points. Parenteau has 11. A point behind Brandon Prust.

Granted, Weise has played 11 more games this season but he isn’t exactly a point-per-game producer. Parenteau simply has not met the offensive expectations set up for him.  If he wants to return to the top line, he’ll have to prove he belongs there by first playing a few games on the third line.

Parenteau’s Defense

Playing on the third line comes with a bigger defensive responsibility. As the playoffs draws near, the Habs will get tighter and tighter defensively in preparation for the playoffs. I doubt P.A. Parenteau is the kind of defensive third liner Michel Therrien is looking for.

All numbers are zone starts adjusted.

At 5v5 even strength this year, Parenteau has a Fenwick For% of 51.6. Parenteau’s problem is not getting the puck, it’s what he does once he has it and more importantly, what he does when he doesn’t have it. His GoalsFor/60 is 1.96, his GoalsAgainst/60 is 2.24 for a GoalsFor% 46.7 and a 98.8 PDO

At 5v5 Close: 54.8% FenwickFor. 1.413 GF/60, 2.221 GA/60 for a GF of 38%. His PDO is at 95.9

At 5v5 Trailing: 49.5% FenwickFor. 0.984 GF/60, 2.953 GA/60 for a GF of 25% and a 92.6 PDO.

Some might think that his PDO is telling that he just haven’t gotten the bounces and that his luck will change. The problem is that his PDO has been under 100 for most of his career since he started in the NHL in 2009. Only once has his PDO been at or over 100 at even strength (100.7 last season). Twice at 5v5 Close (100.0 last season and 101.2 in 2011-12). Only once at 5v5 Trailing (100.1 in 2012-13)

Piece Of Cakes

It would not be fair to compare Parenteau to a  career third line centre like Lars Eller. Let’s compare Parenteau’s numbers to his right-wing substitute, rookie Jiri Sekac, in the same defensive situations.

At 5v5 Even Strength:  Sekac’s FenwickFor% is 47.5, 2.230 GF/60, 1.878 GA/60 for a GF% of 54.3 and a 102.4 PDO

At 5v5 Close:  51.4% FenwickFor, 2.375 GF/60, 1.425 GA/60 for a GF% of 62.5 and a 103.4 PDO

At 5v5 Trailing: 52.2% FenwickFor, 1.963 GF/60, 0.981 GA/60 for a GF% of 66.7 and a 102.6 PDO

Sekac not only has better numbers but better numbers by a lot. Sekac’s numbers get better in the tough situations while Parenteau’s crumble. This is Jiri Sekac we’re talking about. A player who was made a healthy scratch against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 14th.

It’s safe to assume that Michel Therrien would not be too pleased with Parenteau on his third line.

 Less Valuable Player

The absence of P.A. Parenteau has gone smoothly for the Montreal Canadiens. It allowed the team and fans to see more of young players like Christian Thomas and Jacob De La Rose. The two youngsters are quickly becoming fan favorites with their play on the bottom 6 lines. The return of Parenteau could push towards a tough decision on Canadiens’ brass.

Parenteau’s absence has only helped to show how expendable he really is. There are still no updates on Parenteau’s condition and no news on whether he’ll return before the trade deadline but if he does, he just might be Montreal’s most disposable asset.

All Statistics from http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/