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
Filed Under: New York Islanders
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