Brad Boyes vs. PA Parenteau: Why Boyes Is Going To Be The Better Islanders Winger

It has been a quiet off-season for the New York Islanders after July 1st. Other than a few AHL-depth signings, the Islanders have stayed put with their new free agents Brad Boyes, Matt Carkner, and Eric Boulton.

The New York Islanders also decided to let new fan-favorite PA Parenteau walk. PAP bolted the organization when the Islanders decided he was not worth his price tag, which turned out to be $4 Million per season for 4 years.

Of course, the failure to re-sign PAP, a 29-year-old, two-year NHL veteran, would overshadow Garth Snow finally answering the majority of the Islanders’ fan-base. Garth was active on July 1st, bringing in proven veterans that, in my eyes, improved the team, but PAP left, so all seems to be lost according to Islanders Country.

One complaint that has been heard in abundance is that the Islanders let PA Parenteau walk while signing Brad Boyes to a 1-year contract to take his place.

My question is, why? I know PAP had 67 points last season. I also know that Brad Boyes scored 8 goals last season, but do we really not see what’s going on?

Let me start with this: PA Parenteau’s contract was very affordable. The Islanders could have easily signed him. The cap space was there, and it seemed like PAP was a fit next to Tavares. The chemistry between the two players was clearly there. Well, guess what? He was never in the team’s long-term plans.

You know that 4-year deal PAP got in Colorado? Yeah, that was never going to happen on the Island. The Islanders plan on spending their long-term money on the Ryan Stromes and Travis Hamonics within the Islanders organization. The Islanders plan on committing years to the cornerstones of their franchise. Quite frankly, PAP was never that guy.

The past two seasons, PAP signed 1-year deals with the Islanders, and as soon as it was clear that he would be looking for a longer term (and deservingly so), he no longer fit the Islanders vision. Enter Brad Boyes.

Boyes, a former 40-goal scorer, signed a low-risk, high-reward contract to play alongside John Tavares.  Coming off a poor season, Boyes will be playing with something to prove. Similar to PAP, Boyes will be playing to prove his doubters wrong, but unlike PAP, Boyes has a track record of success before doing so.

I’ve heard a lot of arguments stating that Boyes is terrible, and that Garth is giving an 8-goal scorer the chance to play on the top-line with Tavares and Moulson. Well, PAP had 3 NHL goals before he “earned” his shot to play alongside New York’s superstar. Why not let Boyes, a player who has seen himself break 30 goals twice and 60 points thrice, get a chance to rediscover himself.

There’s the argument that Boyes is far removed from his 40-goal campaigns. I mean, in a sense it is true. Boyes has scored 39 goals in the past three seasons, last reaching his career-best of 43 goals during the 2008-09 season. In comparison, Parenteau has 41. The numbers are not exactly a deal breaker.

If you want to go by points, well, Boyes is one season removed from having a better year than PAP. During the 2010-11 season, Boyes scored 55 points while PAP scored 53. Obviously, PAP was superior this season, but again, he does not have a record of success. PAP’s career-high of 67 has been bettered by Boyes twice.

How about this? PAP has been a -16 over the past two seasons with the New York Islanders. Brad Boyes has not been a minus player since the 2008-09 season. This can possibly be attributed to the fact that Boyes is less prone to giveaways in his defensive zone. This past season, Parenteau nearly doubled Boyes in giveaways. PAP had 50. Boyes had 26.

Boyes also found himself in the penalty box for 6 minutes in each of the past two seasons. Parenteau has made a habit of finding increasingly worse times to take a penalty.

My last argument, in defense of Brad Boyes, is that his ice-time has been reduced drastically since his 43-goal season. Once averaging 19:08 of ice time per game, Brad Boyes found himself on the ice for 13:10 per game this season. He was not given a lot of responsibility in Buffalo, but I’m sure 4-5 minutes of extra time next to JT can do wonders.

I guess all I’m trying to say is this: I liked PAP. I don’t think he fit with a low-budget team that had to save its money to prepare for long-term spending on, say, Ryan Strome. He left, and the Islanders decided to take a low-risk, high-reward chance, as they did with PAP, in Boyes.

Islanders fans should give the guy a chance. Consider him a stopgap for either Nino Niederreiter or Ryan Strome. Brad Boyes could come out and score 30 goals on the wing of Tavares and Moulson, and then Islanders fans might feel even worse about letting him go than than they did when letting go of PAP. You know, 30 goals from Boyes would probably equal a minimum of 90 goals from the Islanders top-line, including the output from Matt Moulson and John Tavares.

Garth made a solid move on July 1st. Accept it, and get excited to watch the Islanders in the fall. The team is ready to play. Remember: This was never about Brad Boyes or PA Parenteau. The Islanders success starts with John Tavares, and then all of the cogs working around him.

Follow me @ChrisTriants

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About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants

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  1. jethro09 says:

    Bold prediction. PAP scored 120 pts over two years. It was clearly working with PAP. What I don’t understand is why did it have to be a choice between PAP and Boyes? PAP was worth what Colorado gave him. I don’t understand why a 27 year old with 120 pts over two seasons was not in the team’s long term plans. If Grabber and KO are in the long term plans bases on their track records, why wasn’t PAP?

    That’s not to say Boyes won’t do well, but PAP was a better bet to do well with JT and MM based on the past two years.

  2. ChrisTriants says:

    Whoops, did I say 27? I meant 29.

    In my opinion, the reason KO and Grabs were in the long-term plans was based on their younger age. PAP turns 30 in March, and although I do believe his contract was very affordable, I think it was the years that made the team back off. The Islanders will actually have a very good problem in a year or two: too many forwards. With 12 slots to fill, the Islanders have JT, Grabs, KO, Bailey, Moulson, Cizikas, Nielsen, Martin, Strome, Nelson, Nino, Ullstrom, Kabanov and any potential free agents or breakthrough prospects for the upcoming seasons. Boyes taking 1 year instead of PAP taking 4 gives the Islanders more flexibility for their prospects. I also strongly believe that one of these forwards (like a KO, Bailey, or Grabs) will not be here in the next 2-3 years in order to open a spot for some of these guys.

    I do think PAP was the better bet, as he had proved himself next to JT, but I see the direction the Islanders have been going, which is staying the course of the rebuild. They will literally live or die by their prospects.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. Tyler says:

    Just a warning, Brad Boyes sucks.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      Although he had a terrible year last season, I don’t think it’s fair to discredit his entire career. I’m not calling him a superstar, but he is definitely serviceable, and plays a better game in his own end than PAP.

  4. Matt says:

    I thought getting Boyes for $1 million was a great find by Snow, and this article does a good job of showing why. He may or may not reach PAP’s level of production depending on chemistry, but the point is he’s certainly capable. If the organization didn’t want to commit to PAP for the term he wanted, then he didn’t have much of a chance of returning.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      I believe it’s worth the risk. If he’s awful, he’s gone. If he’s great, the Islanders have a goal-scoring playmaker on their hands.

  5. Ben says:

    Great points. Solid article.

    As a Colorado fan, I think PAP is more than worth the money if he puts up similar numbers (hell, we gave David Jones the same money for substantially less point production). But he’ll be an absolute steal if he can get Duchene going. Duchene has yet to have consistent wingers in his career and it shows when you compare his development against that of Tavares.

    My question is this, having not seen PAP play much live, his stats seem to indicate he’s more of a set up guy. Is that a fair assessment? If so, I’ve always thought of Boyes as more of a trigger man, rather than a guy who can dish. I might be splitting hairs based on his time in St. Louis, but I’d be interested to get your take.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      Parenteau can be good for 15-20 goals a season, but he’s definitely more of a play-maker. A lot of his assists were primary assists this season, and he played well with whoever he was paired with. He is definitely streaky, though, and usually gets hot when others do.

      Boyes has a nose for the net, and he usually finds himself in the right position around the crease. He’s great in shootouts, and has a tremendous wrist shot. He has playmaking abilities as well, and has good stick-handling ability. The problem is, he is a little bit soft on the puck, which was one of the bigger issues last season. It almost seemed as if he were straying away from the tough spots, like in front of the net where he is most productive. One complaint from Buffalo was that he tends to miss the net a lot.

      In St. Louis, Boyes played well with Paul Kariya during the years Brad scored 30+. It almost seems as if he was just a poor fit in Buffalo, where he was being blamed for problems when he was only 10 games into his tenure.

  6. Jesse M says:

    The islanders are currently 8 million dollars from the floor of required spending if I’m not mistaken. PAP is a proven point producer in the NHL and you want me to believe that not signing him was a good move for the future of the Islanders? How many points do all these forwards you list have combined? What sort of contracts will they be demanding within the next 4 years that giving a 30 year old in his prime, 4 million a year would ruin? Btw when the hell are these guys even available for UFA status or even RFA status? For the same reason Garth Snow offered ever single one of his draft picks to Columbus for an NHL ready defensemen is the exact same reason all you wrote is here is a pile. Garth wanted proven NHL ready talent over prospects, that may or may not turn out to be NHL worthy. You pay for the talent you have, it’s tangible you gamble with talent you MAY have! Garth Snow is terrible IMO and if the reports are right about crakner he overpaid him for three times as long!!

    • ChrisTriants says:

      For starters, thanks for the input. The cap floor is irrelevant because this will be lowered (and maybe gone) after the terms of the next CBA are determined. The Islanders will be fine there. Next, in the next 4 years, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Casey Cizikas, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Moulson, one of Poulin and Nilsson, and the definite trade within the next year or two(which will happen within that time frame due to the team’s excess of prospects and need to take that next step) will have bigger contracts on their way. Will every one of those players be on the team? Perhaps not, but the Islanders have a pipeline of prospects that are supposed to fill 12 roster slots. Regardless of whether these players are UFA or RFA, they still demand to get paid.

      Also, the Garth “offer” was not real. To say that Ryan Murray, who has 0 games under his belt, is a “Proven” NHL talent is just false. I agree that you gamble with the talent you MAY have, but the Islanders aren’t going to abandon ship for PA Parenteau. It would be insane to say Parenteau was worth changing course for, or the guy who would change the Islanders from a rebuilding team to a contender.

  7. Jesse M says:

    I love the Isles but let’s be real. Couple of questions/points here. How many years have we been waiting for our draft picks to come to the rescue? Besides Tavares name me a player we drafted that would be a first line starter on any other team in the NHL. No cap? No floor? Where in tarnation have you heard this?!? If you could please answer one more question that gets at the heart of your argument: when exactly do most of these guys become RFA? Remember most of these prospects you name haven’t played more than 10 games in the NHL.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      These draft picks take time to grow, and the Islanders future depends on these prospects panning out. The Los Angeles Kings took 6 years of rebuilding to make the playoffs, and won the Cup 9 years after their rebuild began.Besides Tavares, Hamonic could be a top-paired defenseman. Kyle Okposo was on the Islanders top-pairing last season, and in the right situation, could be a top-line forward as well (although he’s not 100% there yet). There are 3 spots per team that for a top-forward line, and there are definitely not a hugh number of teams that can say they drafted their top-3 forwards. Snow should get credit for finding Matt Moulson, though.

      Regarding the cap, I didn’t say there would be no cap. There are talks of lowering, or removing the cap floor, though. It will prevent low budget teams from overspending on players in order to make it to the floor.

      Next. Martin is an RFA now. Next year, Hamonic and Bailey will be RFAs, as will Kevin Poulin (future in the net), David Ullstrom (who looks to be a solid forward), and Jesse Joensuu (who might surprise some this season). Two off-seasons from now? Nino is an RFA, and although he had a poor rookie year, he can bounce back. He’s only 19. Casey Cizikas is also going to be an RFA, and I believe he will be a true piece to this organization. Matt Donovan, Calvin de Haan, Anders Nilsson, Aaron Ness, and A-Mac also becomes RFAs. Matt Moulson becomes a UFA that same year.

      If you want to go one year past that, Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, and Kirill Kabanov becomes RFAs.

      • Jesse M says:

        I hope you’re right about the draft picks. I just don’t see how pap would affect them. Think Snow dropped the ball on this or just isn’t being honest and doesn’t like pap. If the isles aren’t willing to spend to bottom of the cap now, we don’t stand a chance. Btw our last playoff appearance was 2007 and the last time we even won a playoff series was 1993. How long exactly have we been rebuilding for.

        • ChrisTriants says:

          Fair point. The team, as a whole, has been in turmoil for quite some time. Ownership problems since the 90s, and the Milbury era truly damaged this team, and although the Islanders did see some success at the turn of the 2000s, it was limited. One could say this is the latest rebuild, but there is no doubt that they have had others with short-term “success.” As a fan, I just hope that the guys they have now truly do come together. I believe in the group of players they have now, and I’m honest when I say that. I just hope things take a better turn at the beginning of the year, and honestly, I think we will know if the Islanders are truly taking the next step by the end of November. One thing is for certain. Even without PAP, I think the team has a much better group going into training camp than the group they had going into last season.

          Again, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

          • Jesse M says:

            Feeling is mutual, who knows where they’ll be playing in several years from now anyway :(

  8. Jesse M says:

    Macdonald becomes a free agent in 4 years, pap does not affect him.
    Hamonic is good for another two years. He’s not going to command more than 3 million, pap does not affect him.
    Casey has two more years. Will he even play a full season at the NHL level?
    Nino, 1 goal in 55 games, 2 year left on entry level contract. Once again pap not going to affect him.
    Moulson for another 3 years.
    Rookie goaltenders that will get maybe 30 games??
    My point is that signing a proven point producer for 4 years for 4 million is not going to affect any of these guys. For the most part their RFA’s and they aren’t going to command enough money where having a productive point producer on your team is going to have any effect on signing them.
    BTW Casey and Strome’s contract don’t take effect until they play at least 10 NHL games so they both still have 3 year contracts.

    • ChrisTriants says:

      MacDonald is 2 years, and Casey’s contract has kicked in. He played 15 games last season, and spent the rest of year in the AHL. Hamonic could demand more than $3 million, and the rookie goalies should be starting within the next 2 years. All of these players would need to be re-signed while PAP was under contract.

  9. jumpmikejump says:

    I like the moves but should have kept pap at that rate. It was a fair amount.If all those prospects pan out a big IF but I am hopeful we could trade PAP to replenish the prospect pool.