Could P.A. Parenteau be a fit with the Montreal Canadiens?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Rumours are swirling that P.A. Parenteau could be traded at any moment, and the Canadiens are interested, but is he even a fit?

P.A. Parenteau also happens to be a healthy scratch tonight for the Avalanche, three games after returning from a knee injury that kept him out for ten.

With the Canadiens struggling, a Francophone on the trade block is bound to have rumours swirling, but the question is whether or not he would be a fit in the first place.

At age 30 and signed for two more years after this one for $4M per year, Parenteau is in the mid-range of expenses for a top-9 forward. He's also at the mid-range of size at 6' and 193lbs, and not a physical player by any stretch. That will likely have a large portion of fans sour on him right away.

Before we go any further, it's worthwhile to note that Parenteau was rumoured to be a Montreal Canadien before, and this is what ended up happening:

However, Bergevin also said the Habs desperately needed size right before he signed Daniel Briere, so let's take a look at what Parenteau brings to the table.

Production

2013-14

Parenteau_1314

Parenteau's even strength production is actually very respectable. He's a pass-first player, and doesn't shoot very often, but he seems very adept at setting his teammates up. Keep in mind that the top 90 in league ranks equals 1st line production, and 180 equals second line production. Parenteau has easily been a top-6 forward at even strength.

On the powerplay, he's struggled mightily, but with only 88 minutes played there this year I'm hesitant to judge him as ineffective there, so let's take a look at the previous two seasons.

2011-2013

Parenteau_11-13

These numbers would suggest that Parenteau's powerplay numbers this year are indeed just a run of bad luck, and although I highly doubt he's a top 30 powerplay forward in the NHL, being a top 90 guy or even high end second wave material is very likely.

That leads me to believe that it's possible the Avalanche could be selling low on Parenteau, which could end up making a possible trade significantly more attractive. But let's look a little bit closer.

Possession

Parenteau_possession
Parenteau has been above average for the Avalanche in all situations this season, but it's only during score tied situations where he's been outside of the middle group of the team. Tied situations are the most predictive, but we're also dealing with the smallest sample sizes.

Because of that, and his career Corsi percentage of just under 50%, I don't think it's reasonable to conclude that he's an above average possession player. Even if he's just average though, that's still significantly better that players like Daniel Briere and Rene Bourque.

Parenteau has also been given a fairly significant zone push until this season, where he's seen just 49.7% offensive zone starts.

What it really comes down to

Is Parenteau an upgrade over Bourque and Briere? Yes. Is he an offensive upgrade overall? Yes. Does he fill a need for the Montreal Canadiens? It depends.

Colorado is not going to be interested in Bourque or Briere. Don't fool yourself into thinking either of those guys are going to net a top-6 forward return at this stage. Trading for Parenteau does mean that you need to get rid of at least one of those two though, so any deal may be contingent on another trade.

The other factor in this deal is what you would have to give up in return. It's no secret that the Avalanche need defense, and they desperately need a guy who can move the puck. Considering reports that Raphael Diaz is not going to be back with the Canadiens next year, and that he's been a healthy scratch for the better part of a month, it's logical that he would be the piece Montreal would part with.

If the Habs are hell bent on not using him, you may as well get value for him before he goes to unrestricted free agency, but I can't help but be skeptical of a management group that sees their defense core struggling mightily and refuses to use one of the better players in his own zone.

Other options for Colorado would include the struggling Alexei Emelin, and the disgruntled Magnus Nygren, but Diaz would help them more immediately, and is cheaper than Emelin. It's a tough question.

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