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P.A. Parenteau will indeed be an unrestricted free agent

By Brian Stubits | Hockey writer
Parenteau had 18 goals, 49 assists this season. (Getty Images)

Just in case there was any doubt, P.A. Parenteau is headed to unrestricted free agency. His agent Allen Walsh let the cat out of the bag that he won't be re-signing with the Islanders, at least before the calendar flips to July.

Maybe it's because this year is similar to all the other years in free agency recently, but Parenteau will likely be one of the most highly sought-after players when the market opens up on Sunday. Behind Zach Parise and perhaps Alexander Semin depending on your feelings about him, Parenteau might just be the best forward in the class.

It makes sense for Parenteau, too, unless he really loved playing for the Islanders which is certainly a possibility. But with a basic understand of economics and the principles of supply and demand, you can imagine the type of deals that are awaiting Parenteau this weekend. He is a top-six forward and somebody is going to pay him well to be their top-six forward.

Parenteau had his breakout party this season for the Isles, scoring 18 goals with 49 assists. It was the second productive season for the late bloomer who played in only 27 games before making the Islanders for the 2010-11 season. In that way he's similar to another one of the bigger free agents waiting for Sunday, defenseman Jason Garrison. Both players have one or two good seasons that are going to make them rich men.

A good indication of how much interest there will be in Parenteau is to see how many beat writers retweet the news to their followers. After Walsh's tweet confirm the suspected result of the talks between Parenteau and the Isles -- i.e. that they weren't going to yield a new contract -- it was picked up by several writers covering multiple teams. He is that quintessential guy who just "fits" with every team out there.

Obviously Parenteau's biggest offensive contribution is his play-making ability. He racks up the assists. But he generates offense all around. This season he averaged more than two shots per game and in each of the last two seasons he has carried a shooting percentage in the double digits. Those aren't bad, particularly for a guy who is more pass-first in his approach.

So let's say your favorite team has some cash burning a hole in its pocket, do you want them spending it on Parenteau?

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