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The Chicoutimi Cucumber

David Desharnais!

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This is an ongoing sub-theme in a lot of discussions...so I figure, why not bring it to the fore?

Desharnais has 29 points in 36 games since Nov. 19, when his horrendous slump ended. That puts him on a 66-point pace averaged out over 82 games. He had a 60-point season two years ago, so it's not as though this is aberrant (by contrast, it's the slump that was). Importantly, he has scary offensive chemistry with Patches - so much so that Pacioretty has been quite explicit, for years now, about wanting him as his centreman. Given that Patches is our best scorer, this is significant.

Now, the standard narrative has it that DD is a placeholder, not part of any eventually Cup-winning formula. He is overmatched physically in his own end and so not really a 200-foot player. He has 2 points in 10 NHL playoff games, although he was extremely productive in the AHL playoffs.

I want to ask the question: what if we're looking a gift horse in the mouth? What if DD really is a 60-65 point playmaker who makes Pacioretty better, and who just needs to figure out how to raise his game in the playoffs (something that takes many players more than one playoff to master)? Given the utterly horrendous slump in which Eller is mired, which - unlike DD's slump earlier - is all too consistent with his career patterns thus far, should we really be so quick to project a future of Galy/Pleks/Eller at C?

Could we win, ultimately, with Galy, DD, and Pleks down the middle, in, say 2-3 years?

Just throwing it out there.

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I think so.

I've been converting to this viewpoint now for a the last bit. Galchenyuk is going to be our superstar forward who we can put anyone with really. Desharnais is going to run our firewagon line with Pacioretty and another forward while Plekanec is going to move into a top line shut down role where he still picks up minutes by shutting down the opposition. That's the three line attack we desire.

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Are winning right now with DD as a top 6 centreman.

And Eller I am not too worried about, is he had the icetime, PP time and linemates of 14-51 he would easily have more points. And as I have said he is playing a checking role, leads forwards in hits/blocks and faceoffs (which as a 24year old will only improve), so don't be too down on Eller.

When DD wants to play hard he is very effective, but his defensive game is hit/miss and he can have games where he dosent backcheck and is knocked off puck easy.

But, yes his vision and 'hockey-IQ' are very good.

Not sure what he future holds and how Bergevin sees him and forward group? He does not fit the "culture-change" of a blue-collar gritty grinding player, so just don't know if he will finish his contract with Habs?

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There's good teams and then there's great teams. Of course we could win with Desharnais at Center. Look at the devils two years ago. Anyone can win. I just don't think this is a GREAT team. Good with him, not great. I don't hate DD, think he's a great playmaker, but, if I had to make a contender, I wouldn't pick him.

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I'm not a big fan of DD but his chemistry with Pac is undeniable. And between the two of them they only cost 8m per year with is a pretty good deal. So I think that if we could fill out our other lines with quality players, I don't see why we couldn't win with him.

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I find comparisons between Eller and Desharnais's career unfair because Desharnais's NHL career began at the age that Eller is now. So we're looking at all of Eller's struggles in the NHL against Desharnais's time in the ECHL and AHL. If you put Eller next year with Pacioretty and Gallagher, would he put up 50+ points, and look a lot better in the two-way game than DD?

Pacioretty likes playing with him, sure, but he's an NHL pro and should be able to play with anyone. If DD was traded he'd adjust. I think if Desharnais continues his good form next year he'll be a valuable trade asset at that contract. The reason I'd still look to move him instead of Eller is the playoffs; you're really counting on your big horses at that time, and I don't think DD has the physical tools or the defensive acumen to be reliable in those tough series against Boston, Toronto, Detroit, etc. We're down a goal against the Bruins in the third and we keep sending Desharnais out for key faceoffs...

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DD has really made a comeback playing with Patches. The only thing is that he can only play with Patches. With anybody else he looks lost. Even when he and Patches play together he seems to only be able to find Patches. I guess this is our Hull and Oates. The passer and the shooter. With the numbers he has we have to keep him, or we may lose Patches. Mentally speaking. So I guess we better get rid of Gionta if we are going to get bigger cause DD ain't going anywhere, Gallagher is staying, do that does not leave many choices.

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Bottom line question is whether he can produce offensively when there is much tighter checking and more physical play AND not be too much of a liability defensively. DD is horrible in his own end.

If I'm MB I move him while he is producing.

This is an ongoing sub-theme in a lot of discussions...so I figure, why not bring it to the fore?

Desharnais has 29 points in 36 games since Nov. 19, when his horrendous slump ended. That puts him on a 66-point pace averaged out over 82 games. He had a 60-point season two years ago, so it's not as though this is aberrant (by contrast, it's the slump that was). Importantly, he has scary offensive chemistry with Patches - so much so that Pacioretty has been quite explicit, for years now, about wanting him as his centreman. Given that Patches is our best scorer, this is significant.

Now, the standard narrative has it that DD is a placeholder, not part of any eventually Cup-winning formula. He is overmatched physically in his own end and so not really a 200-foot player. He has 2 points in 10 NHL playoff games, although he was extremely productive in the AHL playoffs.

I want to ask the question: what if we're looking a gift horse in the mouth? What if DD really is a 60-65 point playmaker who makes Pacioretty better, and who just needs to figure out how to raise his game in the playoffs (something that takes many players more than one playoff to master)? Given the utterly horrendous slump in which Eller is mired, which - unlike DD's slump earlier - is all too consistent with his career patterns thus far, should we really be so quick to project a future of Galy/Pleks/Eller at C?

Could we win, ultimately, with Galy, DD, and Pleks down the middle, in, say 2-3 years?

Just throwing it out there.

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If MB moves for example.. Eller for Parenteau or Plekanec for Wheeler..

Are the Habs better off with Eller & Wheeler or Plekanec & Parenteau?

This is why I lean towards trading Plekanec in the current situation. I'd like to see a Plekanec caliber solution to the top 6.

Give Eller the time and opportunity that Plekanec had.

I'll start judging MB by what the roster looks like going into next season.

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DD is a producer. Whether or not he produces in the playoffs, there's an argument to be made about sample size. Exhibit A: Joel Ward's contract. DD is no great shakes in his own end, but that's why we have Plekanec. Plex can shut down Crosby or Tavares easily giving DD the offensive zone starts with Pacioretty. The wild card is Galchenyuk, if we traded DD, that doesn't mean Eller slots in, Galchenyuk is going to be that guy.

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I can't understand why anyone would trade Pleks. He's an awesome 200 ft player. DD is completely expendable and not a component of a championship team.

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Trade DD while his value is high. That's what I says. And Plek is top five two way forward in the league. He is the best skater on the team for the last 5 years. No way I would trade him for wheeler.

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Not entirely sure this is applicable here but for awhile now I've been wanting to mention to all those who dislike Gionta and think that he has become mediocre; his success was always largely in part a byproduct of Gomez. Actually, perhaps the same can be said for Gomez's success as well. When the Habs acquired both of them, you could instantly see their chemistry. When Gomez began to slump and be taken off the top lines, Gionta's game (to a much lesser extent) was also affected. I'm not saying that Gionta's game hasn't regressed with age but I think there are other factors to be taken into consideration as well.

Why would I bring this up in this thread? Well for starters, there are a couple of linear patterns between Gomez and Gionta and Desharnais and Pacioretty. In addition, a team with Gomez and Gionta won the cup.

With all that being said, I don't think Pacioretty would be as affected as Gionta was if Desharnais were to be traded. Do I think we could win with Plex, Galchenyuk and DD down the middle? I certainly think so. Would I prefer Plex, Galchenyuk and Eller to be our top 3? Yes.

DD has really made a comeback playing with Patches. The only thing is that he can only play with Patches. With anybody else he looks lost. Even when he and Patches play together he seems to only be able to find Patches. I guess this is our Hull and Oates. The passer and the shooter. With the numbers he has we have to keep him, or we may lose Patches. Mentally speaking. So I guess we better get rid of Gionta if we are going to get bigger cause DD ain't going anywhere, Gallagher is staying, do that does not leave many choices.

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Really I don't know how much DD is worth on the trade market, but if he is at a high point, then by all means trade him when his value is high. It's ok to say "he produces with Patches" but does he really produce when against the top teams? Or in a tough playoff series? The answer is No, he doesn't. Perfect sample was vs the Kings in the 6-0 loss...

Galchenyuk, Plekanec, Eller, White down the middle is what I'm happy with at center for the next few seasons. That group is good both ways, and have size or in Plek's case, skills without the puck. I don't see us getting full value by trading Plekanec, he is simply too good right now, and will be for probably 4-5 years more. Unless it's Plekanec and pieces for Ryan O'Rielly(signed) then I wouldn't move him, so yeah trading DD is fine by me, his contract off the books will pay Eller, and we will be instantly bigger..... Max will score plenty of goals flanking Galchenyuk, Eller, or even Plekanec, and he will get over DD's leaving just fine. Team is too small, and that's the bottom line....

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So DD hasn't produced in the playoff but who has on this team? Has Price? Nope so we should trade him to then!!! answer is no. Yes we need to get bigger in the middle but at what cost? What are you going to get for DD? He works hard and is putting up points and if he puts up 60 for what he is getting paid it is great value. Teams dont trade big centers very often that can score. How big are bostons centers? so yes you can win with smaller ones but you need bigger wingers that can play we dont have that.

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Everybody likes the story of "The Little Engine that Could". Given that he is French, I doubt if he is ever moved. Too nice of a story.

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He is producing, but I don't want a dump trade. We would need good value back. There are teams out there that can afford a small center because they have enough size on the wings. We need more size. If that can't be done, there is no point trading him right now.

Bourque is a dump trade, but apparently no one wants him.

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I don't think that there is a point to dismantle this year's team because some players are not of caliber on a "Cup contender"; as far as my expectations for this year go, DD is just fine as a placeholder until Galchenyuk earns that position alongside Patches.

Next year is when I expect to see a center line of Pleks, DD/Chucky, Eller, White, and at some point a decision to keep Eller at center or to move him to LW, for example to the left of Pleks...

But this year's DD is just fine, and his production during the playoffs this year will show what he is really worth.

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DD is fine as long as he isn't your number 1 center.

He won't be our number 1 centre. Galchenyuk will.

There is a spot for him if he keeps producing.

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Guest Stogey24

Not entirely sure this is applicable here but for awhile now I've been wanting to mention to all those who dislike Gionta and think that he has become mediocre; his success was always largely in part a byproduct of Gomez. Actually, perhaps the same can be said for Gomez's success as well. When the Habs acquired both of them, you could instantly see their chemistry. When Gomez began to slump and be taken off the top lines, Gionta's game (to a much lesser extent) was also affected. I'm not saying that Gionta's game hasn't regressed with age but I think there are other factors to be taken into consideration as well.

Why would I bring this up in this thread? Well for starters, there are a couple of linear patterns between Gomez and Gionta and Desharnais and Pacioretty. In addition, a team with Gomez and Gionta won the cup.

With all that being said, I don't think Pacioretty would be as affected as Gionta was if Desharnais were to be traded. Do I think we could win with Plex, Galchenyuk and DD down the middle? I certainly think so. Would I prefer Plex, Galchenyuk and Eller to be our top 3? Yes.

Its not like Pac and Desharnais are scoring tic tac toe goals. Desharnais just constantly passes to him. Plek could easily do what Desharnais is doing, its just we need second like scoring from Plek. Pacioretty could piggy back any play maker, Desharnais just happens to be the guy riding along.

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A streaky smurf who's shaky in is own end and unlikely to be able to produce in a playoff environment has no business being one of our top 2 centers. Enough with the 'settling' at the #1 center position; MB's goal MUST be to FINALLY go out and get/draft a TRUE #1 center...something the Habs have not had in many many years (sorry, Koivu lovers...even at his best, he was just a really good #2 on a championship caliber team).

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A streaky smurf who's shaky in is own end and unlikely to be able to produce in a playoff environment has no business being one of our top 2 centers. Enough with the 'settling' at the #1 center position; MB's goal MUST be to FINALLY go out and get/draft a TRUE #1 center...something the Habs have not had in many many years (sorry, Koivu lovers...even at his best, he was just a really good #2 on a championship caliber team).

Have you forgotten about Galchenyuk? He's our great white (and red and blue) hope.

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On trading him while he's hot: the thing about DD is whether you could ever get "full" value back for him. Other teams will be aware of his connection with Patches, his defensive limitations, and, of course, his tiny size. If he were 6'2 and exactly as effective as he is right now, with all the same weaknesses, there is no doubt we could trade him for serious value, but the size bias is such that it could put us at a disadvantage in trade talks, I fear.

It's the mutual dependency between him and Patches that is the real complicating factor here. They constitute a 1-2 punch that is a genuine, big-league offensive threat. On a common-sense level, I'm not sure it's smart to mess with that. As for the playoffs thing, that's a good point about "sample size." In DD's first playoff, I don't think he was yet trusted as a regular with minutes. The Ottawa series, meanwhile, was just a total team disaster. Too often we dismiss players' playoff abilities based on a couple of bad series, in which, often, the whole team stunk it up. (I remember when posters around here were angry that Bob was pushing hard to acquire Hossa at the deadline, because he was a "playoff bust" :rolleyes:).

I think my favourite post above is Commandant's. "As long as he's not your #1 C, he's fine." And if we beef up on the wings, DD ceases to be part of a wider "smurf" problem. However, I'll admit to a congenital weakness for smart, shifty playmakers, and for small players whose very existence flips all the size-obsessed hockey experts the bird.

I dunno. It's one of those fundamental decisions Bergevin is going to have to make. I don't envy the man his job!

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A line, post trade-deadline, with Gallagher-Kesler-Pacioretty (if Canuck collapse continues after break) would likely produce as well as DD-Pacioretty-Gallagher (and defend better for sure).

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the only gift horse I see here, is that now Desharnais is producing to a point where he may be attractive to other teams again looking for a second line center, because here, he is a place holder. Eventually, and i'm talking in the very near Future, Galchenyuk needs to be the one centering Max and Gallagher on the top line. Now when it comes to asking if we can win with Galchennyuk, Plekanec and Eller as our top 3, my vote is absolutely.

DD is typically in the way of allowing Galchenyuk to play the position we drafted him for, and the position he is most comfortable with. If you run a team with two 200 foot centers and two 6 foot+ centers, and 3 centers capable of helping there line be the stars of any given night, that is when you win hockey games on a regular basis, playoff or not.

Does anyone honestly think Max is going to mind playing with Galchenyuk when that kid gets to play HIS position, and is in his early twenties? And lets not forget, DD was slumping horribly with Max on his line, that line didn't start going bonkers until Gallagher got on it, he is the true catalyst behind their revival. All the things that guy does on every shift to help out his line mates and draw attention to himself don't always show on the stat sheet, but they sure do translate to what goes on it.

Examples:

Gallagher plays on Eller line = Consistent Production, Desharnais line asleep at the wheel

Gallagher plays on Desharnais line = consistent production, Eller line not producing.

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