The “other guy” in the Brayden McNabb for Nick Deslauriers and Hudson Fasching trade is Jonathan Parker, who grew up here and played for the L.A. Selects.
After a 45-goal campaign that left him fifth in Western League tallies, the California native has catapulted onto the NHL’s radar by outperforming highly touted prospects Nino Niederreiter, Quinton Howden and Ryan Johansen, to name a few, and is coming off the biggest turnaround season of any player in the league. Parker, who stands 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, scored 30 more goals this year than in the 2009-10 WHL season.[...] Falling between the cracks at last year’s draft, the 19-year-old power forward is trying to muscle his way into the professional hockey scene. But even after reinventing himself, he barely made the grade on Central Scouting’s final ranking and stumbled in, for the first time, at 186th overall among North American skaters.
“He was able to score so many goals because he’s got an NHL release and when he gets open and keeps his feet moving he can certainly find the net and that’s what he did all year.”
Armed with a quick trigger, Parker’s hot-hand was consistent all season as he notched 17 multi-point performances en route to becoming the highest-scoring Raider in nine seasons – a feat that placed him among the league’s elite.
“Not only do I think he has the best shot in the league, but some of the plays he pulls out of his hat are unbelievable,” said linemate Justin Maylan.
Far from being a one-dimensional player, Parker showcased his versatility night after night, adding 41 helpers to his stellar campaign to carry the Raiders to their first playoff berth in three seasons.[...]
Three of Parker’s homegrown comrades – Beau Bennett, Emerson Etem and Taylor Aronson – were scooped up in last year’s NHL draft, with first-rounders Bennett and Etem headlining California’s emerging pipeline of talent.[...]
Parker cut his teeth on the same hockey path as Penguins prospect Bennett, who he skated alongside for eight seasons with the L.A. Selects. The duo won a national championship in 2006 before parting ways, but both are aspiring to reunite one day at hockey’s pinnacle.
“The kid is tough-as-nails and pound for pound he will take a beating to make the play,” said former NHLer Joe Noris, who coached against all three California prospects. “There are not many guys who will take hits game-in and game-out and at some point I know someone is going to say, ‘Wow where did this kid come from?’ ”