P.A. Parenteau is the subject of much deliberation surrounding the deadline. The 33 year-old right winger was claimed free of asset exchange ...
after he was curiously placed on waivers by the New York Islanders before the season started. Ray Shero added Parenteau who has been producing a fine 2016-2017 campaign with 12 goals and 23 points in 49 games at the date of this publication. I expect Shero to flip his low-cost asset for a favorable return at the February 28th deadline.
Why He Must Go
Very rarely is a free asset of Parenteau's value dropped into your lap with a cap hit of $1.25MM. However, he is going to be 34 in March and is therefore not aligned to grow with the younger core of this team. Hall, Henrique, Palmieri, and Severson embody the core of the team and are all under 28 with Henrique being the oldest at 27 as of February 6th. I like Parenteau just fine, but the reality is that the Devils would be much better off flipping him for the pick or player he may bring back to continue their rebuild. His scoring this year relative to his low cap hit and term (his contract expires in July) makes him very attractive to teams looking for a veteran rental player who can fill a scoring role on the 2nd or 3rd line. Regardless of whether New Jersey trades him this year or not, I would not protect him under the current expansion draft rules at the end of the season anyway. One may as well get some sort of return rather than face the risk of losing an asset with no return (Looking at you, Islanders).
What Is His Value?
This question is much more difficult to answer, however I will be estimating his return based on precedence set by similar assets, the needs of the Devils, and the current supply/demand landscape of the league.
I used corsica.hockey's Similarity Calculator, which minimizes Euclidean cluster variance between data points to determine which players of the same position are having or have had statistically similar seasons. In layman's terms, the way it works is each player has a series of the same metrics used to create a clustering of points on a multidimensional chart. The method Emmanuel Perry, founder of Corsica.Hockey/mastermind behind it's content, uses to measure similarity simply finds points that are closest to one another on this chart and measures exactly how far apart, or by how much these points differ from one another. This difference is used to create a similarity estimate. More can be read on his methodology here and the tool can be used here. According to this tool, 2016-17 Parenteau is most similar to:
I included all players with at least 95% similarity to try to get a feel for the value of PaP. So, if any of these players were dealt on these years, what did they return, and can we expect the contexts to be held equal? The short answer is no, the landscape of each season is uniquely determined by the cap situation, the demands, and the trajectory of each team at the time. However we can at least get an idea of how an NHL GM may value assets like PaP.
Of the players on that list, only Kris Versteeg's 2015-2016 campaign and Milan Michalek's 2008-2009 campaign featured a trade at the deadline. However, Michalek's deal was 8 years ago in 2009 and he was 24 at the time, hardly an equal comparison to our aging 33 year-old winger, so I will discard Michalek and therefore only focus on Versteeg's transaction.
Kris Versteeg was traded by the Carolina Hurricanes to the LA Kings for Valentin Zykov, a second round pick taken by LA in the 2013 draft with no NHL appearances in his career to this point, and a conditional 5th round pick. The pick was to be awarded to Carolina if the Kings made the Stanley Cup Final which they failed to do and therefore the pick was ultimately not included in the deal. At the time of the deal, Versteeg was 29 with the remainder of the season at a $1.7MM cap hit which compares closely to Parenteau's contract situation (1 year deal at $1.25MM). The only major difference between the two are their ages at the time of the deal with Parenteau being 4 years older. However, both assets would be exchanged as a offensive role-player on a rental basis, not necessarily key pieces to build a perennial championship team for years to come. For these reasons, I would argue that the two assets, Parenteau and Versteeg, are not far apart in value. Their metrics comparison is summarized below. Note: I removed some of the metrics used in the initial chart above. The purpose of that chart was to identify like players and therefore required the use of all available information. This chart is only to be used to compare the two player's seasons side-by-side. The change of metrics considered explains the change in similarity in this chart relative to the one above.
Essentially, Parenteau has a slightly lower corsi rate, higher goal scoring rate, lower assist rate, and slightly higher overall points rate than Versteeg. The bottom line is that Parenteau is highly comparable to Versteeg and therefore we conclude that he may have the ability to fetch a low-end prospect, like Versteeg did or perhaps a third or more conservatively, a fourth round pick. I argue that the use of the transitive property is acceptable (albeit not perfect) in this case as we are comparing this season to last season and although seasons carry unique contexts, only a limited amount of fluctuation can possibly occur from one season to the next. Teams roughly have the same/similar roster situations, cap situations, ownership/GM styles, etc. Yes, there are exceptions, but we are merely performing this exercise to estimate, not forecast with any certainty.
What the Devils Would Be Asking For:
In this speculative paragraph, I will first consider who the devils may lose in the expansion draft. I use the expansion draft protection tool on CapFriendly which can be found here. If I am Ray Shero, I am protecting Hall, Zajac, Palmieri, Henrique, Josefson, Bennett, Devante Smith-Pelley, Severson, Moore, Schneider, and Greene (although I could make a case to leave Greene exposed and potentially lose his $5MM cap hit during his 35+ years, but the team is clearly not in cap trouble and he is, after all, our captain). This fits NJ into the 7 forward, 3 defenseman, 1 goalie protection structure and leaves Cammalleri, Lovejoy, Quincey, and obviously Parenteau exposed (the Devils would ideally not have Parenteau on the roster at that time anyway). Luckily all first or second year contracts are protected (Zacha, Wood, Kalinin, Santini, and Auvitu to name a few).
In this case, the Devils would ask for a depth defenseman and/or (a) pick(s), likely having to choose one or the other.
Who is Willing and Able to Make this Deal?
Look for fringe teams like LA and Dallas or contenders like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Nashville, Anaheim, Boston, San Jose, St. Louis, Minnesota, or even Montreal to dish up a pick or player (more likely a pick) for our offensive-roled veteran rental asset. Whatever General Manager Ray Shero receives in return for Parenteau will be considered a net positive transaction as the cost for attaining him from the Islanders was paying him a measly $1.25MM.
What do you think? Should the Devils keep P.A. Parenteau? Is he worth more/less than I claim he is? Who will offer a deal for the winger? Leave a comment below and share on Twitter!
EDIT: Cammalleri/Merrill were intentionally left exposed. The reasoning behind this decision is to trade Cammalleri (article similar to this one coming soon) and to gamble on Merrill in order to keep Moore/Greene. However, a long discussion may be had on choosing 3 of the following defenseman: Severson, Merrill, Moore, Greene. Perhaps exposing Merrill and keeping Moore is not my final stance, but I have not addressed this particular nuance yet. The only easy decision is to protect Severson.
*Data taken from corsica.hockey.com, CapGeek.com, and Wikipedia.com