The Devils Picked Up The 'Right' Wing They Desperately Needed By Claiming P.A. Parenteau Off Waivers
Hmm, a reliable veteran who is at his best when playing with skilled players and has shown a consistent ability to contribute offensively? Wonder where he could possibly fit in the Devils lineup...
I usually try to avoid comparing players year to year because it feels like a fairly lazy way to analyze their skill sets. That said, P.A. Parenteau is a cheap, potentially under-appreciated journeyman right winger that's hovered around the 15-20 goal mark 5 of the last 6 seasons and has proven he can be successful in the top 6 while playing alongside John Tavares. If that doesn't sound like the exact same role that Lee Stempniak filled so admirably last season then I don't know what does. The fact of the matter is that neither Devante Smith-Pelly or Beau Bennett have stood out during the preseason as thee player that's going to make a top line featuring Adam Henrique and Taylor Hall click. P.A. could be that guy, but even if he's not he adds cost efficient depth at a position that is in desperate need of known resources. Before today, the list of right wings that could be trusted to provide offense began and ended at Kyle Palmieri. So with a lineup that becomes more and more of a question mark as you get towards the bottom of it, the Devils can use all of the dependable players they can get their hands on. P.A. Parenteau is exactly that and he's all but guaranteed to produce above his pay grade.
And yeah, this means that Blake Speers is heading back to the OHL, but - as much of a pleasant surprise as he was in camp - I think most fans realized his extended look was more out of necessity than anything else. He could absolutely benefit from more seasoning just as the Devils could benefit from slotting 15 goals into their lineup without worrying about the growing pains that come as a result of rostering two wet-behind-the-ears teenagers. It's a credit to him that he lasted as long as he did, but it's a discredit to a position that undoubtedly just got better with a waiver claim that is familiar with the role he'll likely be asked to fill. At the very least P.A. Parenteau will add versatility, but - more importantly - he'll add the one thing the Devils have had none of the last few seasons...options.