It was a rough end to the 2014-15 for Pierre Alexandre Parenteau. A concussion knocked him out for nearly two months, he struggled to find a spot in the line-up when he was healthy. There wasn’t much going for the 32-year-old winger. When it came to head coach Michel Therrien, it was evident where the root of the problems came from.
“We didn’t see with the same eye,” Parenteau told members of the media. “It was a rough time with Michel Therrien last year.”
Then a member of the Montreal Canadiens, Parenteau struggled to keep his role in the line-up as a top-six forward. He was bounced around in favor of less-skilled forwards like Dale Weise, who didn’t possess the same scoring prowess but put in twice the effort. At times, Parenteau was forced to watch from the press-box, where he and millions of Habs fans looked on at an abysmal powerplay that surely could have used Parenteau’s services.
But his inconsistencies and health were detrimental to his playing time. By the time January rolled around, he was on a 30-point pace and had scored just one goal in a 22-game stretch. While he was top-five on the team in producing scoring chances, his puck possession numbers were rather average and his shooting percentage was just 8.2%, the lowest number he’s posted in the last five seasons. At 31, Parenteau was producing more scoring chances, per 60 minutes, than he ever had before, but the finishing touch you’d normally expect out of him had vanished.
He would end the season with just 22 points in 56 games, putting an end to 30+ point campaigns he had previously accomplished in the last four seasons. It was a year to forget and Parenteau moved on after being bought out by Canadiens’ General Manager Marc Bergevin. In the off-season, he would sign a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
P.A. Parenteau’s Chance for Redemption with Maple Leafs
Parenteau and new Head Coach of the Maple Leafs Mike Babcock have a bit of history with one another. When he made his professional debut in the league with the Anaheim Ducks, Babcock was part of the coaching staff. It is believed that Babcock’s influence was a big reason why Parenteau was offered a one-year contract.
“I’m only 32; I’m not 36 or 37. I feel great right now, I’m in great shape,” Parenteau explained, putting any doubts of his health to rest. “I can be very useful to this hockey team and I know it.”
Looking to prove his own worth, Parenteau scored two big powerplay goals in his first pre-season game with the Leafs, helping them defeat the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-1, earlier this week. If he is to live up to expectations that he can still be a scoring, top-six forward, the time is now. On a Maple Leafs team that needs it, now more than ever with the departure of Phil Kessel, Parenteau’s opportunity for redemption is here.
Playing top-six minutes and logging time on the powerplay, where you’ll normally find him on the point, Parenteau will look to show that despite his injuries in the past, he can still play the game. Patrick Roy lost hope in Colorado, and Therrien followed suit in Montreal the following year. Luckily for Parenteau and for Leafs fans, the coach behind Toronto’s bench is one of the best in the league at doing his job.
If anyone can get P.A. Parenteau going, it’s Mike Babcock.