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09-03-2012, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Estimated_Prophet View Post
You make very good points in respect to Plekanec's d-zone starts and linemates but you neglect to mention that for the first 25 games of the season Plekanec saw considerably more PP time than Desharnais and for the most part played with better linemates during that span.

Over the final 56 games Desharnais put up 47 points compared to Plekanec's 31 points. That is more than 50% more production from Desharnais than Plekanec over this span.........not exactly close.

You might want to consider that Cole played better with Desharnais than he did with Staal the previous season......last time I checked Eric Staal was a #1 center in this league.

I am not bashing Plekanec as he is a very usefull player but he is absolutely an inferior offensive player to Desharnais. Plekanec is a great skater with decent skills who is defensively responsible but his creativity is pretty average. Desharnais was a very good fit with Cole and Pacioretty as his deft touch complimented their power games perfectly. Cole and Pacioretty play a north-south game and require a center who can drift into soft spots and find them at the right moment. Plekanec has more of a tunnel vision approach and often can be frustrating when he doesn't adjust his speed to create distance from defenders in order to open up passing lanes. Like I said, Plekanec is a very good player and I don't want to see him moved but Desharnais is clearly the better fit as an offensive center.
I really don't understand why some of you don't get the concept that quality of linemates and opposition really matter in determining a player's production.

For an extreme example, look at James Neal. He was a 30-30 player at best when playing with Mike Ribeiro, and he became a 40-40 player when playing with Evgeni Malkin.

In this guy you cherrypick the final 56 games, and you criticize Plekanec for scoring 31 points in 56 games when starting in the defensive zone against players against the best players in the league and lining up with Brad Staubitz, Ryan White, Mathieu Darche, etc. You know how many points Desharnais would score with those kinds of players? Well, he had 22 points in 43 games last year playing with linemates of the same caliber as Ryan White, but without the stronger opposition and more dzone starts. That is inferior to Plekanec's 52 points in 82 games.

I want you to pause and think here, do yourself a favor and visualize two separate situations:

1) David Desharnais gets a faceoff in the offensive zone against Rick Peverly, with Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole on his wings.
2) Tomas Plekanec gets a faceoff in the defensive zone against Tyler Seguin. Brad Staubitz and Ryan White are on his wings.

Who do you think is going to get more points? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ?????? what a tough call, no idea ?????

Relative to Plekanec, Desharnais had:
- better linemates
- weaker opposition
- more ozone starts and fewer dzone starts

We can't control for all these factors, but we can control for weaker opposition by going to If we check up road stats, we can compare the players with Desharnais still having better linemates, still having more ozone starts, but not having weaker opposition.

Plekanec had 30 points in 41 road games whereas Desharnais had 25 points in 40 road games. Plekanec produced more, with equivalent opposition, weaker linemates and inferior zone starts.

Finally, we know how Plekanec can do when given favorable situations. He had 69 points in 2007-08 and 70 points in 2009-2010. When he's given the task of unfavorable situations but good linemates, he produces 57 points in 77 games like he did in 2010-2011.

Desharnais may one day become a better offensive player than Plekanec, but right now he's not there.

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