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09-03-2012, 01:04 PM
Talks to Goalposts
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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.
Plekanec was playing on the point early in the season while Desharnais was one of the PP centers. If anything that put DD in a better position for PP points. During the first month Plekanec had ~38 PP minutes on the point, Desharnais ~32, which was the most of those playing forward on the powerplay ahead of Gionta (~31) and Pacioretty (~30).

Desharnais was seeing pretty good minutes in the first 20 games. Before Cole-Desharnais-Pacioretty there was Kostitsyn-Desharnais-Pacioretty, and occasionally Cole-Desharnais-Cammalleri. Only in the first 2-3 games was he playing with Kositsyn-Desharnais-Darche.

Martin had Desharnais with offensive top six wingers pretty much from the get go, playing in very good offensive minutes (first unit powerplay time, as much ES time as any line on the team). Whereas it was clear in the beginning that Plekanec would be leaned on as a shutdown player more than previous years in order to exploit the teams' excellent scoring forward depth.

If you don't believe me, check Oliver's game reports:

Now the difference between a Desharnais 60 point year and a Plekanec 70 point year is more to do with better powerplay production for Plekanec (plus some PK points). Both at around 40 ES points. However, Plekanec in those years was never outscored by an even strength linemate (he was always his line's offensive leader on evens) whereas Desharnais was behind both Cole and Pacioretty by a fair margin.

By the same token, Cole's ES goal scoring basically didn't change from the previous year. His goal scoring increase was almost entirely from playing a much larger role on the PP in MTL compared to CAR.

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