Parenteau had a difficult time finding a consistent role in Colorado under head coach Patrick Roy, but still managed to put up 33 points in 55 games in a year plagued by injuries. Briere was in a similar situation in Montreal, but was used in a far lesser role, putting up 29 points in 65 games, also dealing with injuries.
Both players are paid $4M against the cap, with Parenteau signed for an extra year, and being a natural right winger as opposed to Briere being a natural center.
While we will definitely have more analysis for you on this trade later today, it looks to be an excellent move by the Habs' GM Marc Bergevin. The Canadiens just got younger and better for the same price, and did so without having to worry about backlash over shipping out a French Canadian name, seeing as they got one in return.
Parenteau is 31 years old, and more of a playmaker than a shooter, but may be the replacement for Brian Gionta on the depth chart.
UPDATE: The Canadiens also received a 5th round pick from the Avalanche in the deal.