This Leblanc Obsession
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06-06-2009, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
The interesting thing about Leblanc is that, imo at least, he's the first Quebecer/francophone in a number of years who'll potentially be in our pick range whose game doesn't have any noticeable red flags.
The 2002 draft had PM Bouchard, and he polarized the board a bit because despite his obvious offensive strengths, he was/is a tiny little guy without the great skating ability you hope to see in pint sized players (like Kariya's, for example), especially in the old NHL.
The 2003 had Bernier, but he had skating and conditioning concerns.
The 2004 draft didn't really have anyone, though I guess you could say Picard who went significantly earlier than expected.
The 2005 draft had Pouliot, but more eyes were on Brule. Pouliot had tools, but he came out of nowhere and still didn't exactly dominate.
The 2006 draft had Giroux who was another small, slight guy without great skating ability (and evidently poor foot speed). It looks like he'll pay off for Philly, but the concerns were there.
The 2007 draft had Esposito and Perron. Esposito obviously regressed from the previous year, or rather was exposed, despite his obvious tools, raising concerns. Perron wasn't seen as being the best skater and seemed to rely on low speed flashy moves/dangles that many didn't think would translate to the NHL.
The 2008 draft had Deschamps, who it seems likely we would have drafted if we kept our pick. I don't think many people minded, though, because while he was/is a pretty vanilla player (jack of all trades, master of none), he didn't have many drawbacks.
While Leblanc isn't the biggest guy, he certainly doesn't have any size issues. He's reportedly a very good skater. He reportedly has good hands, scoring ability, and vision/playmaking ability. He reportedly has a very strong work ethic and plays a determined/tenacious/competitive game, not shying away from the rough stuff or high traffic areas. There don't seem to be any locker room issues. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders.
The only questions, at least from armchair scouts, are how high his upside is (though no one pegs him as a third line type guy), partly because it's hard to go by USHL stats, and the lack of high end competition he's going to face playing at Harvard.
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