A ninth-round pick overcoming the odds to play on a top line in one of the most famous cities in the world, alongside one of the game’s premiere talents. That’s the story of P.A. Parenteau, who according to Brian Compton of NHL.com has decided to hang up his skates. Parenteau retires after trying to make it work in the KHL, and representing Canada at the Spengler Cup this year. The 35-year old forward actually told Montreal radio more than a month ago that this was what he was planning but it went mostly under the radar, much like his NHL career.
Selected 264th-overall back when the NHL draft still had more than seven rounds, Parenteau was an extreme lottery ticket for the Anaheim Ducks. The young QMJHL winger had just completed his first season of junior, but would go on to score 51 goals and 118 points the next season. Perhaps they had more than they had expected in this offensive player who didn’t have any single standout skill. Another year of junior and four years bouncing around the minor leagues before Parenteau would make his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks, and another three years before becoming a regular with the New York Islanders.
That’s where he found immediate success with a young first-overall pick named John Tavares, who turned Parenteau from a minor league scoring threat to a 20-goal, 67-point NHL talent. Parenteau told Compton that playing those two seasons with Tavares “changed [his] life completely. I can retire in peace now just because of those two years.” While he likely means the peace that came knowing he finally made his long-time NHL dream come true, there is also the financial gain that Parenteau received from his two years alongside Tavares.
After that 67-point season, the Colorado Avalanche signed Parenteau to a four-year, $16MM contract that would eventually be bought out by the Montreal Canadiens. After an outstanding lockout-shortened season in 2012-13 when Parenteau had 43 points in 48 games, his career took a sharp downward turn and he’d be out of the league just a few years later. Though there was some resurgence in Toronto, when a bad Maple Leafs team gave him plenty of ice time en route to another 20-goal season, the writing was on the wall for Parenteau.
In all, the ninth-round pick will retire with 491 games played in the NHL and 296 points. Those offensive totals put him 19th among all players selected in 2001.