The New York Islanders face-off against the Montreal Canadiens tonight in the Nassau Coliseum. Their will be a sea of red in the old barn for this match-up, where tickets are being sold for $9 on StubHub, but whatever. The Islanders have a better record on the road anyways.
So, tonight the Islanders lace ‘em up for their 23rd game of this season. Unfortunately, we have just about reached that half-way mark in a lockout shortened season, but fortunately, the Islanders find themselves only three points out of a playoff berth in March. Of course, if we want to make any kind of push, the Islanders have to improve in many areas on the ice, and get a little bit more out of some of their “top” players; and, let me tell you that I want nothing more for this team to make the playoffs.
Anyways, as the season moves forward, I have still been hearing a lot of “If only the Isles kept PA Parenteau,” like we made one of the biggest mistakes in NHL history. As we know, the Isles let PAP walk in the off-season for a 4-year $16 million deal, and immediately replaced him with Brad Boyes at a much cheaper rate.
Obviously, the move was made partly to save money, and partly because PAP wasn’t in the Isles future plans. The move was made with the idea that Boyes could serve as a place-holder for future long-term options (Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, etc.), without sacrificing the production that PA Parenteau added.
There will always be Snow critics, crying conspiracy, and there will always be us “Kool-Aid drinkers” no matter what the argument is, or what the facts are. I just figured that we could all revisit the decision to replace PAP with Brad Boyes over the summer, and try to determine if the move really impacted the Islanders in a negative way.
Let me make one point clear. In two seasons with PA Parenteau on the roster, the Islanders never finished better than 26th in the NHL. They never made the playoffs. The Islanders still had the 26th-ranked offense in the NHL during the 2011-12 season, PAP’s 67-point year.
So, it’s time to look at some current numbers. PA Parenteau has 18 points in 20 games this season. Brad Boyes has 16 points in 22 games. PAP has taken on a more responsible role in Colorado, scoring 9 goals and 9 assists, while Boyes has basically assumed PAP’s void as inconsistent play-maker, with 5 goals and 11 assists, while being held off the score-sheet in 10 of his 22 games this year.
I will say this. Good for PAP. He’s proving that he is more than just a “product of Tavares.” I thought he would falter elsewhere, and apparently not. Some of you said that he would be fine on his own, but let me ask you – Did you really predict he would have 9 goals in 20 games, or just about half of his 20-goal career-high in one-fourth of the time? Probably not, so to say that the Islanders need the goals, well, that’s just not who he was on the Island. He only scored 4 game-winning goals in his two seasons on the Island as well, so it’s not as if his goals were necessarily game-breakers.
In comparison, Boyes is basically on a PAP-type pace. With 5 goals through 22 games, Boyes would be well on-track to match PAP’s 18 goals of last year. His 11 assists would be good for 44 by the end of an 82-game season if he stayed with it, as well. Essentially, Boyes; current pace puts him at 2 points less that PAP had during last year, which could go either way if Boyes found a way to get hot.
Want to hear something else? Both players had 16 points through 22 games on the Island (PAP last year, Boyes this year). PAP went 3-13-16 through the first 22, while Boyes is currently 5-11-16. Strange, huh. We may be watching PAP score a bit more in Colorado, but we don’t miss his production on the Island..at all….really, not at all.
I’m also not really missing PAP’s ability to take some awful penalties. He has 26 penalty minutes this season, one year after his 89 penalty minutes with the Islanders. Boyes has 10 penalty minutes this year, and 6 total penalty minutes for the Sabres last season.
Certainly, PAP is the better two-way player, though. He was a -8 in both years at the Coliseum, and currently a +4 for the Avalanche. On the other side, Boyes is a -11 through 22 games. He also had 21 giveaways, and only 9 takeaways, compared to PAP’s 14 giveaways and 19 takeaways. PAP would actually lead the Islanders in takeaways this season.
We can argue that PAP plays with more responsible puck-handlers in Colorado. He’s only been on the ice for 15 of Colorado’s goals against, while Boyes has been on the ice for 22 of the Isles goals against. It should be noted, though, that the Isles first-line was on the ice for the most goals against last season, too, and that was with PAP on the team. PAP’s improvement could be a mark on his play, or it could be highlighting problems with the Islanders “system” in-place.
So, look. I wanted PAP here last summer. I didn’t think he was worth over-paying for, but I had no issue with the deal when the Islanders let him walk. I was OK with the money he earned, but not his years. Truth is, four years from now, the Islanders should have an abundance of guys pushing many of the guys that are currently on this team, off of it. PAP would have been one of those guys.
Is Brad Boyes a long-time solution? No. Am I happy for PAP in Colorado? Yes. Is PAP playing better than Brad Boyes? Arguably. Do the Islanders miss what PAP brought to the table? Not at all.
PAP’s off doing his thing in Colorado, perhaps giving them a little bit extra than he gave here. Fact is, Colorado remains tied with the Islanders with 20 points, and sitting out of the playoffs. Fact is, Boyes is providing the same offense that PAP was giving the Islanders, product of JT or not.
Half-way through the season, I think it’s a wash. I’m curious to what you all think, though. PA Parenteau or Brad Boyes?
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.
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