Those who have been reading me or following me on Twitter for a while know that I have been defending David Desharnais against what I felt were unjustified and overblown reactions from a group of fans. As a matter of fact, I pride myself in playing devil’s advocate, trying to show the other side of the medal, particularly when the masses gather steam by trying to be popular.
You see, for the longest time, I genuinely felt like Desharnais was giving to the team what could be expected out of a guy getting paid 3.5 million dollars per season. The fact that coach Michel Therrien used him in situations that fans didn’t feel were right had absolutely nothing to do with Desharnais, who didn’t deserve the bad press he was getting. The only knock that I had against him was his play in the playoffs, much like Tomas Plekanec for that matter. Oh it wasn’t a lack of effort but with his size, he simply can’t compete when the going gets tough.
Demoted to third line duties to start the season, centering a line with Thomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise, Desharnais had an amazing start to the season, his line being the second most productive, just behind the top line centered by Plekanec.
But how quickly, and mostly how low things have fallen since then! While coach Therrien persists in using him more than he perhaps should, Desharnais’ play has been absolutely brutal for the past couple of months. It’s like he forgot how to play hockey, or what made him successful at every level that he’s played at, including the NHL.
I don’t know if he has any market value but it is my sincere feeling that it’s time to trade him away. The Canadiens are too weak up the middle and that’s something that should be rectified. They need a true number one centre until Alex Galchenyuk is ready to take that on. They also need to commit to Galchenyuk at centre in order for him to continue developing at that position. And last but not least, Lars Eller should be the third line centre on this team.
As we have explored in a previous article, not only do the Canadiens need some scoring punch on the wings, but they must get bigger and tougher to play against at the position of centre and trading Desharnais (and Plekanec as mentioned in the quoted article) would go a long way to do that.
Of course, Desharnais being the only French Canadian in the line-up doesn’t make it easy and that’s why team GM Marc Bergevin is trying hard to get young top prospect Jonathan Drouin from Tampa Bay.