Friday, July 27, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Offseason Player Profile: David Desharnais

All Eyes Are On Double D After Breakout Year

David Desharnais- C
5'7 177 lbs
2011-12 Stats 81GP- 16G- 44A- 60 Pts

The Price

Desharnais is entering his second, and final year of his current contract paying him $950K. He has an $850K cap hit.

Quite a deal when you consider he put up 60 points with the team last season.


It's safe to say that going into the 2011-12 season, nobody could've guessed that DD would finish third on the team with 60 points. His +/- rating of +10 was also ranked third on the Canadiens behind Josh Gorges's +14 and Erik Cole's +11.

There is no doubt that Desharnais worked hard to find success last year having to go up against bigger and stronger defensemen game in and game out.

What also helped his numbers was playing in between Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty, the two players who finished ahead of him in points.

That is not meant to come off as a knock against Desharnais. He proved me wrong time and time again when I was convinced his productivity would slow down.

I do however still believe his numbers would drop significantly on another line. Also, I can't help but believe Tomas Plekanec would surpass Desharnais's numbers from last year had he played between the team's top producers.

The Fit

David Desharnais will no doubt start the season centering the team's top line. After the success the trio shared last year, it's hard to argue against that.

My argument, however, would be to trade Desharnais. I can't see the Habs moving forward with Plekanec, Eller and Desharnais playing down the middle. With Galchenyuk no more than a year away from making the jump into the NHL, there needs to be movement.

The problem is despite his stats, his size will diminish his market value.

I don't see Eller being moved as he provides size and has shown plenty of offensive potential.

On the other hand, Plekanec has proven to be an effective player on both ends of the ice and in any situation and so his movement would generate more of a return.

In the event that both remain Canadiens. Desharnais will continue to play in between Cole and Patches and recieve powerplay minutes unless his production falls.

Put yourself in the GM's Chair. Who Stays and who goes? Where does DD fit in?

Check out other player profiles:

Ryan White
Travis Moen
Brandon Prust
Colby Armstrong
Carey Price
Lars Eller
Francis Bouillon
Tomas Plekanec
Raphael Diaz

Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at You can follow Sean on Twitter

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


This comment has been removed by the author.

I actually think they can all remain with the habs but one, being DD, should make a move to the wing. I also wouldn't be opposed to breaking up the top line. I think a line of DD, Eller, and Patches would be a good combo and would give Pleks the top line with Gionta and Cole. I think these would give a more balanced approach. When Galy becomes ready to play in the big league he could take up the 3rd line position or take Eller's place in the above mentioned top two lines. Either way I would like to see some line combination mix ups early in camp to see who has the best chemistry moving forward.

Good question.

I used to think moving DD made the most sense, but the real risk would be trading part of the line, not breaking it up.

As much as I want Plekanec as top C, it could be point-production suicide to dismantle the line permanently...

Depending on the return he would bring in a package deal, I would move Pleks. If Galchenyuk takes off right away, I'd need a star LW in the deal. If he doesn't, a star pivot.

I agree, if Galy does take off right away and becomes a bonafide offensive threat then we should be dealing on of our centers to try and get some wing help. I think this whole scenario really depends on how things go with Galy.

pleks and or gio and their bloated salaries are the ones to go....

DD is only starting to adjust to the league. He also is an insignificant cap hit. The future? galch, dd, eller...

trading pleks and gio now before they deminish further is the way to go.


Great piece as always.

I am personally happy for DD but have to admit that I don't think he is part of the solution going forward.

I think he is an NHL and I think he has a place on this team but just don't understand the love affair with him.

The #1 concern I have with him is primarily what he does on the road.

When playing at the bell center he was a near point per game player raking in 35 points and a +17 rating. Because of this Pacioretty scored 19 goals and had 42 points while Cole put up 20 goals and 36 points.

On the road however this trio had limited success. Desharnais had 25 points but was a -7, Pacioretty 9 goals and a -12, Cole just 10 goals.

If this club is to take it to the next level then we have to be a better road team and to me the key to think is not Desharnais who gets pushed around but a more dependable center.

Plekanec for instance had 30 points on the road last year and was an even 0

@anon to suggest trading Plekanec who is our best center is not the answer. While DD had the luxury of Pacioretty and Cole, Plekanec had a rotation of Blunden, White, Moen, Darche, Gio, Bourque, Geoffrion.

Despite this he finished the season just 8 points behind DD.

I think the answer is keeping both, possibly moving DD to the wing however and allow the defensive battles to a bigger center like Eller

pleks is over 30, earns over 5 mil, and is the best leverage we have to get good value back. I like pleks, but hes not leading us to a cup this year or next...failing to move him now only sees his leverage deminish, and his salary doesnt help us moving rather see him moved now, get value back, see us have another crappy year and draft high again, and have the room to promote our talented prospects from within. Given all of the variables, if its move either pleks or DD, I move pleks.

@Anon No.3

Gionta is still a very good player who got injured. I don't see how he is diminishing.. What are you basing that on?


Though I made a case against it, I agree with Sean that DD will most likely stay exactly where he is for the time being.

If that turns out to be the case, would you not entertain the idea of packaging our best center to bring in an even better one?

Seriously doubt that'll happen, but I'd at least look at the option for sure.

hes over 30 and costs too much for this team in its current position....even when healthy last year, he grossly underperformed...dd is already better than gionta ever has been...hes better than pleks doubt.

gio pleks bourque kabs nokes gomez all out the door! save big time....prepare for the next 3-5 yrs...

gionta is not the type of player we need to be paying 5 mill for... need a younger 40 goal scorer type on the team that lacks goal scoring.... if you can send him and a prospect dman off for that I would say it makes sense... pleks is a perfect 2nd line 2 way Centre any team would love him and I think he should stay he's too valuable on the pk

Great post, IMO I like David Deharnais and I think he is a great young player, dare I say this but he reminds me of smaller players such as Saku Koivu (because he I think is a pretty good playmaking center who can chip in with the odd goal) he also reminds me of Brian Gionta because of his drive and willingness to get to the front of the net at no matter what cost (despite his size)

I agree that if Montreal were to eventually trade one center it would have to be Tomas Plekanec because he would get a much better return, but if we were to keep Plekanec and if Alexander Galchenyuk was to make the team this year out of camp, to me it should be Lars Eller and not Desharnais who should move to the wing because Eller (like Max Pacioretty and Eric Cole) could use his size against the boards and still be able to use his speed and skill to create scoring chances, while because of his size, Deharnais IMO would easily get seriously hurt playing the wing much like Mike Cammalleri did on more then one occasion while wearing the Hab colours

Lars Eller moving to the wing has failed just about every time they've tried in the past. He is lost over there and much less effective than back at C, where his offensive contributions are already limited.

My subjective and unprofessional opinion is that DD is a better play maker and passer than Plekanec. We can argue line mates all we want, but DD was putting puck to tape all season long, and creating beautiful plays while doing it. If it weren't for his stature, he could be elite.

And he's still learning. This is going to be only his 2nd full NHL season. His 45-game trial year before last was already a great sign with decent numbers (0.5 ppg) given TOI. But seriously, a 60pt season in his first full and we don't know where the love is? Pleky took 3 seasons to get there. I'm quite confident he hasn't peaked just yet. I say let's reconsider any judgement on DD until next season, if there is one. Sky might be the limit with this guy - i have a feeling he still wants to and can be better.

Plekanec goes to 3rd line C when Gally hits his stride. And i'd be surprised to see it happen this year. I'm expecting a Gallagher-type show; playing comfortably against similar farm talent in pre-season, but disappearing when the last games are played with close to full NHL rosters.

In the meantime Eller will probably be given some ample offensive assignments to see if lives up his potential because if he isn't the future #2 of this team (Gally projecting as #1), he's probably going out in a trade. That means he has to out-play DD for a top six role and Pleks to even be a future 3rd liner. I can't see him getting better offensively than DD is right now.

Pleks is 28 years old and can easily be the next Guy Carbonneau. He is just so good defensively that he could be key on a sure-fire contender. Withstanding a publicly displayed middle finger gesture, he could be our #1 defensive center (i.e 3rd) for the next 4-6+ years (again, if Gally nails the spot this year). I'm not convinced Eller will be a better 3rd liner. Too early to predict how that will turn out, but Pleks is my choice for now.

Money can and probably will not fulfill that future, but note that Gally will be on an ELC for the first 3 years, and let's bank another year in the OHL for him in '12-'13. We could afford that at the onset and convince Pleks to stick around for less if we are infact on the edge of being a powerhouse.

so yeah.


or perhaps, just maybe...


I say we have about two years to make that choice of Eller or DD. Don't think anything will change until then.

Post a Comment