Auston Matthews, James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, Darcy Tucker, Tomas Kaberle, Doug Gilmour, Gary Roberts and P.A. Parenteau – What do all these players have in common? All of these team legends, young and old, have had the honour of being second in team scoring for the Maple Leafs over the passed thirty years. With P.A. Parenteau retiring it is only fitting to recognize him for his monumental season in the Blue and White.
While the bronze is being cast for his statue on monuments row, us Maple Leafs fans have time to recollect his massive season with our team. Parenteau had shown life in Long Island, putting up 46 and 89 points in back to back season spanning 2010-2012 earning him a contract in Colorado. Unfortunately his form dipped in his time with the Avalanche, and he was traded in a scrap-for-scrap deal with Montreal for Danny Briere. Understandably so, his game didn’t pick back up in Montreal and he was set to hit the free agent market going into the 2014-15 season.
With prophet Mike Babcock predicting pain, he eased the transition from the Kessel era to the great unknown by bringing in the Long Island sniper from years passed, knowing that the wily vet had some life left in him. And so history was born.
From such a humble career it’s hard to believe an NHL player who broke into the league at 26 years old could end up with such distinct and honourably company for his achievement with the Toronto Maple Leafs mentioned above. But then again, the hockey gods have a way of repaying hard work and grit in this league.
Parenteau was a shining light in a season that didn’t feature much for Leaf fans to enjoy, outside of a near perfect tank (take notes Buffalo). The veteran forward offered reprieve for Leaf fans; he scratched an offensive itch many didn’t think would get satisfied following Kessel’s departure to Pittsburgh. 20 goals and 21 assists, a near mirror image of giver and taker offensively. He was special to Maple Leaf fans, he was OUR guy.
What makes P.A. Parenteau lighting the NHL on fire for the Leafs even better, was the fact that in his home province just a season prior the Canadiens seemingly found a way to limit this machine’s power. Despite his birth place and forced allegiance to a lesser team, Parenteau was Maple Leaf’s property from 2015-16, and lives on a such in our blue and white bleeding hearts forever.
He never left the team at the deadline that year, despite phenomenal offensive output in a league dying for scoring. Some say the Leaf’s hamstrung a deal by demanding too much, other’s say that playoff team’s didn’t think he could maintain his production pace. Me? I say he wanted that one full season of glory, he wanted to finish what he started in the Blue and White.
Farewell, P.A. Parenteau, rest easy in retirement. You will always be remembered as the second highest team scorer in the 2015-16 season for the Maple Leafs, as if we could forget.