In his two seasons with the New York Islanders, P.A. Parenteau left no doubt that he is a talented playmaker, putting up 120 total points, including 82 assists.
But Parenteau neglected to re-sign with the Islanders in order to sign a four-year, $16 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
But now that Tavares is beginning to establish himself in the league, just how crucial does P.A. become to his success?
And the better Tavares gets, the better Moulson will get, as these two players feed off each other.
Tavares is a season or two away from establishing himself as a superstar in the league, if he hasn't done so already. Moulson is coming off a career-best 36-goal campaign, his third 30-plus goal season in a row. And, since he's entering his prime (he'll turn 29 at the beginning of the season), he should continue to improve.
Tavares is a superior playmaker to Parenteau, as he demonstrated last season, recording 81 points and scoring 13 more goals than Parenteau.
Despite the impressive offensive numbers, Parenteau still has quite a few chinks in his armor. He sometimes gets lazy on the ice and takes some bad penalties. He also isn't the best defensive forward.
Will the top line be negatively affected by Parenteau's departure?
He's a decent overall player at best, but isn't worth the $4 million a year he'll be earning with the Avs. That's nearly $1 million more than Moulson makes per year, and—let's be honest—Matt deserves more money.
There is also the fact that Parenteau became expendable. With the signing of Brad Boyes, there's now a nice group of forwards that Jack Capuano can insert into the top line to take Parenteau's place.
Boyes or Kyle Okposo would be the ideal candidates to play alongside Tavares and Moulson.
Boyes still has 30-goal, possibly 40-goal, potential (he twice eclipsed the 30-goal mark while playing with St. Louis). Playing with Tavares and Moulson could really bring Boyes back to his old self, after playing fourth-line minutes on an anemic Sabres team.
At 30, Boyes is also in his prime.
Okposo might be better off serving on the second line with Josh Bailey, Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen, but he could be another choice to play with JT and Matt. Okposo also has the potential to score 30 goals with the top line.
To summarize, Boyes and Okposo together are capable of duplicating Parenteau's offensive output on the top line. They would easily produce about 50-60 points while working with the dynamic duo of Tavares and Moulson.
As Tavares continues to emerge as an offensive force, he will no longer need Parenteau's help to produce—and especially not when he'll have Moulson and Boyes or Okposo to pick up the slack for the departed Parenteau.
The Islanders top line will not miss a beat without Parenteau. In fact, they may produce even more goals this upcoming season.
Best of luck in Colorado, P.A.!