Senators interested in Parenteau

Canada Day is shaping up to a big payday for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and the Ottawa Senators could be part of the free agency fireworks.

Senators interested in Parenteau

Canada Day is shaping up to a big payday for Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and the Ottawa Senators could be part of the free agency fireworks.

Parenteau, the late-blooming New York Islanders winger, is expected to be a hot commodity when NHL unrestricted free agency begins on Sunday.

Parenteau, 29, scored 18 goals and 49 assists in 80 games with the Islanders last season, much of it spent playing alongside John Tavares. He scored 20 goals and 33 assists in 81 games with the Islanders in 2010-11.

Pierre Dorion, the Senators’ director of player personnel, suggested Wednesday that the Senators would be interested in signing Parenteau, providing he does opt for unrestricted free agency on July 1 and the price is right. Dorion was speaking at a business luncheon at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators will have plenty of competition, however, considering there is limited marquee talent available. Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals and Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes – who hasn’t re-signed due to ownership uncertainty – are the other top forwards who will test the free agency market if still unsigned by noon Sunday.

The crop of top tier defencemen is also short, with Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Suter expected to receive a massive contract on Sunday. The Calgary Flames jumped the gun on Wednesday, trading for former Washington Capitals defenceman Dennis Wideman, and then signing him to a five-year, $26.25 million deal. Wideman will be making $5.25 million per season, compared to the $6.5 million Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson will be making annually under the terms of his new seven-year, $45.5 million contract.

Wherever Parenteau ends up, the windfall will be a reward for his years of battling his way up from the minors and establishing himself as an everyday NHL player.

Parenteau, who was born in Hull and grew up in Montreal, was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the ninth round, 264th overall, in the 2001 entry draft. He played five AHL seasons before getting a taste of the NHL, a five-game trial with Chicago in 2006-2007 and has been operating on one-year contracts throughout his career.

Come Sunday, though, he will have security.

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