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11-20-2012, 09:29 PM
Talks to Goalposts
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
His best 56 game strech also coincided with Desharnais definitely leaving the 3rd line, where he started the year last season.

And no matter what we say about Desharnais's wingers, Plekanec had AT LEAST ONE YEAR where one of his wingers was MUCH better than Pacioretty or Cole.
Desharnais started on a 3rd line with two top six wingers and powerplay time. So not really 3rd line at all in production terms. Martin was using him as an offensive specialist from the begining, giving the two way responsibilities to Plekanec and Gomez/Eller. He got to play with Pacioretty starting only a couple games into the year. Desharnais played almost every game with some combination of Pacioretty, Cole, A Kostitsyn and Cammalleri last year.

On the other hand, 60 points in 11-12 is a pretty close to the same as 70 points in 07-08. The drop in powerplay opportunities had that big of an effect on top line offense. Both had about 40 points on ES, just Plekanec could get almost 30 on the powerplay while Desharnais could only get almost 20. Plekanec scored like very good PP center that year though on rate while Desharnais was pretty average last year, so lets call it a 65 point effort in 07-08 terms.

But then again, Plekanec was carrying his line on ES that year (Kovalev's elite year was strickly a powerplay phenomena) while Cole and Pacioretty both outstripped DD on ES. So Plekanec's ~40 points were worth more than Desharnais and he's likely the stronger ES producer, although not by a huge margin. When we're talking about ES lines, which is essentially what we're doing, no one sensible thinks DD shouldn't play powerplay in some capacity, Plekanec has the better resume.

The key problem for next season is LW though, which is why I think the line needs to be split. Pacioretty is the only LW in the system that can score while playing against tough opposition, unlike RW where both Gionta and Cole can do that. So if they are to form the solid two-way line around Plekanec the team needs to keep Desharnais in a strickly offensive role, Pacioretty probably has to be on it. It would be different if they still had Cammalleri or Kostitsyn, but that's water under the bridge.

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