The Islanders needed to make a few tough decisions to get down to the 23-man roster that needs to be submitted by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The first of those decisions was a surprise.
PA Parenteau, the well-liked, well-traveled wing brought in to play alongside good friend John Tavares, was placed on waivers Monday. The 33-year-old had 20 goals and 41 points for the Maple Leafs last season and is making $1.25 million this season, both factors in a likely waiver claim at noon Tuesday that would take him elsewhere after what the front office clearly deemed a disappointing training camp.
Parenteau had only one preseason game to work alongside Tavares, Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Capitals in Washington. Parenteau’s ho-hum preseason coupled with the emergence of 19-year-olds Anthony Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, along with 20-year-old Josh Ho-Sang waiting in the wings in Bridgeport, gave general manager Garth Snow a difficult call to try and shed Parenteau’s roster spot.
Regardless of whether Parenteau is claimed or clears waivers and heads to Bridgeport, there still are moves to be made to get to 23 players. Beauvillier and Barzal can stay for up to nine games before the team must decide whether to send one or both back to their junior clubs or burn the first year of their contracts. Shane Prince, who hasn’t skated in the past two weeks because of a lower-body injury, will start the season on injured reserve, clearing one more spot.
That likely would leave the Islanders the option to send one of two young defensemen, Adam Pelech or Ryan Pulock, to Bridgeport, as neither requires waivers. Whatever route the Islanders take, they are going with some youth in key spots, possibly on the top line.
“We’re evaluating right through the final buzzer here,” coach Jack Capuano said before Sunday’s game. “We still have a few decisions to make.”
Parenteau totaled 120 points in two seasons as Tavares’ right wing in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He netted a four-year, $16-million deal from the Avalanche that summer and, after a very productive 2012-13, began an unwanted odyssey. Knee injuries hurt him in 2013-14 and he was dealt to the Canadiens, where Parenteau clashed with coach Michel Therrien and had the final year of his contract bought out.
He latched on with a rebuilding Toronto team and restored his NHL career, earning the low-cost deal with the Islanders to try to keep his momentum going.
“I love this area, I love this team,” Parenteau told Newsday last month. “I’ve got two kids now, we’re in Great Neck, my wife likes it, so far, so good. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge.”