[Updated with injury news] For an unrestricted free agent, this is the nightmare scenario -- but P.A. Parenteau may have narrowly avoided the worst: Two games from the end of a career season, in a game that means nothing for the standings nor, really, personal milestones, Parenteau was helped off the ice after what looked like a significant injury to his left leg.
The Islanders' in-game report was that it was an ankle sprain, but many watching it thought it looked much worse and crossed their fingers awaiting the prognosis. The incident occurred thanks to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Mark Stuart diving dangerously into Parenteau's legs in an attempt to sweep the puck while Parenteau was on a breakaway [video via Keith's resourceful living room]:
Stuart was not penalized on the play, and Islanders color man Butch Goring believed that was the right non-call. (Personally, I don't think "trying" to get the puck absolves dangerous plays.)
Not that it would keep teams from making handsome offers to the winger, who has led the Islanders in assists most of the season (though he was passed at 49 by John Tavares tonight). But an injury and offseason rehab would add (or take away) another layer to the offers he'd receive.
Parenteau has taken the long road to the NHL, only making it as a regular at age 27. Here's hoping the sprain is "just" a sprain.