Here’s the thing with Danny Briere: he’s not very good any more. I have a ton of respect for his talent, his career, and the man he is, but as far as being an effective NHLer goes at age 36 (37 by the time next season starts), the reality is that it just ain’t there anymore.
Briere is a guy who needs to play in the top-six with good linemates to be effective, and he was rarely good enough this past season to be slotted into that role. As a small guy in the NHL, you need that pop in your step to evade the monsters, and he's lost a step. The established veteran tallied 25 points in 69 games - you expect more from offensive players $4 million a year.
That they turned him into 31-year-old P.A. Parenteau, a player with the same cap hit whose two seasons pre-Patrick Roy yielded .84 and .90 points-per-game is pure alchemy. That they picked up a 5th round pick with Parenteau seems beyond magic.
I understand that Parenteau and Roy may not have been a match made in heaven, but surely there was a better solution than this, particularly for a Colorado Avalanche team so desperately in need of defense. I do believe having veteran leadership in the dressing room is important when you have young talent trying to learn how to best operate as pros, but if the veteran in question isn’t capable of contributing and demonstrating that their methods translate to success on the ice, their influence doesn’t carry very far.
The West is brutal, and Danny Briere is going to have a tough time with it. The East is not, and Parenteau has a legit chance to put up 100 points over the duration of his contract (two seasons).
The Avs may have wanted out from Parenteau's deal, or just Parenteau in general, but acquiring Daniel Briere seems like one of the least appealing ways to accomplish that. It’s pretty black and white from where I sit: the Canadiens come out with a resounding win in this deal.