Saturday, 12 October 2013

David Desharnais is put on notice by Coach Therrien

Le Journal de Montréal has a piece on David Desharnais, in which he is quoted that he understands the 'message' that Coach Michel Therrien is sending by bumping him down to the putative third line, reconstituted with wingers René Bourque and Brandon Prust.  So no more coasting on the good will accumulated with his breakout season with Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty, Max will be on a line with Lars Eller and Daniel Brière.

Good on David for not obfuscating, but we have to admit that this isn't a bad line for him, he can succeed with these guys.  They bring size and some speed, and René Bourque can be the finisher while Brandon bangs and crashes and creates havoc in front of the net.

So it's an interesting change, and it sates somewhat the appetites of those who have been calling for his head on social media.  Lots of angst has been generated by his new contract which kicks in this season and will run for three more, and pays him $3.5M/season.

Right now, the contract doesn’t look good. At the time, I felt we’d paid market rates, or slightly below, for what he could bring, based on his previous season, and possible improvement in his game. We’d retained an asset we got for free at a reasonable cost.

I think that the addition of Daniel Brière to the roster didn’t do him any favours. He’s the wrong type of player, didn’t add to the mix at the time of the contract signing, and I think right now this is being borne out on the ice. I advocated for signing players like Anthony Stewart or Brenden Morrow, who I’m ready to admit are not as good players as Daniel Brière, but would have been a much better piece to add to the puzzle. I felt that a player like Anthony Stewart, even with his stone hands, would be productive if he went digging for pucks in the corners and stood in front of the net for deflections and rebounds, as well as being available for post-whistle scrum duty, at which David is overmatched and Max is wasted.

So while I’m a fan of Marc Bergevin, and believe in his strategy, I think he made a tactical mistake in July by signing Daniel Brière. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to predict the market, to be Kreskin, but optimally he would have waited and signed bigger wingers cheaper, guys like Brenden Morrow and/or Simon Gagné, guys that would have been a better complement piece to the team, and that would have restored the advantage David has with his quickness, agility and vision in the offensive zone, if he has the right wingers to go along with him. As it is, Mr. Bergevin spent a good part of his budget on a piece that doesn’t work well with the others, that doesn’t fit in the puzzle.

I haven’t thrown in the towel with David, I think he’ll be productive this season, but his start to the season is worrisome.

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