Avalanche sign P.A. Parenteau to 4-year, $16-million deal; can he thrive without John Tavares?

The Colorado Avalanche made what will likely become one of the most contentious signings of the NHL Free Agent Frenzy: New York Islanders right wing P.A. Parenteau for 4 years and $16 million.

After arriving with the New York Islanders in 2010, Parenteau, 27, had 53 points in 81 games (20 goals, 33 assists) and 67 points in 80 games (18 goals, 49 assists) in two seasons. He's got great hands, to make up for some questions about his speed. But there's no question he was an outstanding complimentary player with star center John Tavares.

Therein lies the rub on P.A. Parenteau: Did Tavares earn him this contract, or is he worth $4 million a season on his own?

Lighthouse Hockey offered the following on that argument:

Parenteau was played on the second line from December 29, 2011 through February 4, 2012, for a total of 17 games. The move was made after a bad three game losing streak that came just as the Isles seemed to be turning things around. During that period, he was lined up mainly with Nielsen and Grabner and, for a couple of games, with Brian Rolston. How did he do? He scored a total of 11 even strength points: 2 goals and 9 assists, which matches his per game even strength productiveness over the course of the season.

Thing is, the Tavares argument might be a non-starter. The Avalanche aren't looking for Parenteau to be a primary offensive player; they're looking for him to do the same thing for Matt Duchene that he did for the player drafted two spots ahead of him.

Is it with $4 million if Parenteau can get Duchene back on track as a franchise player? If might be.

Which is why he was a target for the Avalanche from the start. From Adrian Dater of the Denver Post:

True, he's listed as a right wing and the Avs need left wingers more. But if you've seen Parenteau play much, you know that many of his goals came on one-timers from the left side, especially on the power play. I have also been told by those who've seen him play a lot that Parenteau can play left wing at even strength, and in fact has done so before.

The Islanders weren't matching his money, so off he goes. And while the hockey world wonders if Parenteau can hang without JT, please recall Tavares has done quite well with Parenteau as his running mate; how much did PA do to get Tavares to 31 goals and 81 points last season, and will the next winger do the same?