27-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Guillaume Latendresse Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with Ottawa in July 2012.
Latendresse will return to the lineup for Friday's Game 2 against the Penguins, TSN's Brent Wallace reports.
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Guillaume Latendresse: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Latendresse signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Sens on the first day of free agency this past off-season and will be given every opportunity to win a top-six role, perhaps alongside Jason Spezza on Ottawa's first line. The big, skilled forward has battled a number of injuries the past two years and has also been critiized for being out-of-shape. When he has played, Latendresse has been surprisingly good, registering 55 points (35G, 20A) in 105 games over his last three years in the NHL. If he comes to camp in good shape, (he's training with Ottawa's strength and conditioning coach in Ottawa this off-season) he could be one of the better low-risk, high-reward signings this year. He has a lot to prove, but on a team that is geared toward puck possession and attacking the net, Latendresse's skills could be put to great use. In the best of cases, he could net upwards of 20-25 goals with the same amount of assists.
The 24-year-old Latendresse should be looking forward to a new season because his last one was primarily spent on injured reserve. In fact, he missed all but 11 games as the result of abdomen and hip injuries that ultimately called for surgery. Latendresse is expected to be healthy for training camp, but his lack of speed makes him a questionable fit under the direction of new coach Mike Yeo. Health permitting, the young scorer could prove to be a decent pickup if the Wild find consistency within a revamped top-6 forward corps, but avoid squandering a high pick on the Quebec native come draft day.
Latendresse turned his career around after he was traded to Minnesota from Montreal last season, scoring 38 points in 64 games with the Wild. He should be a nice sleeper this season in his first full season with Minnesota, especially since the move out of Montreal and fresh start with the Wild seemed to rejuvenate him.
The youngster has steadily averaged about 27 points per season in his first three seasons. He is just 22 years old and has a lot of room for improvement. He played in just 56 games last season and set career highs in goals, assists and points per game. With the front line from last season gone, Latendresse should see more playing time, and should, theoretically, increase his production from last season.
Latendresse made the Habs as a 19-year-old two seasons ago but it was probably because he was French-Canadian. He would've been better served going back for one last year of junior hockey. He beat out then 21-year-old Andrei Kostitsyn in a fierce training camp battle and look where they're both now in their careers. When looking at the team's depth chart at left wing, Latendresse trails Kostitsyn, Tanguay, and Higgins for scoring-line deployment. Fellow left-winger Steve Begin is their best defensive forward. While Latendresse has decent hands, good size, and was a proficient pugilist in junior, his lack of foot-speed is killing his professional development. Latendresse is at risk of not making this team. Don't touch.
The Habs were criticized last year by former great Patrick Roy for keeping Latendresse as a 19-year-old and not sending him back to his junior team. The 6-2, 230-pound rookie told Roy to mind his own business and responded with 16 goals and 29 points with 47 PIMs. While he appeared in 80 games his ice time fluctuated wildly. His greatest moments came when he was given a chance to play the left side of the first line while Higgins was hurt. He proved he could be a top-2 line winger. The promising power forward had already proven in junior that he had hands that could both finish (96 goals in 169 games) and also punish (247 PIMs). If he can stick on the second line with Plekanec and Kovalev, he should be good for 20 goals and 40 points. Obviously, his value is highest in keeper leagues as he's a future 30-goal, 90-PIM player.
Young power forwards don't come out of Quebec too often but Latendresse has made the Habs as a 19-year-old. He won't turn 20 until after the season. His last year in Quebec Junior included 83 points, 105 PIMs, and 46 goals in 51 games. At this point the 6-2 and 216 lbs kid will start the year on the energy line with Steve Begin and Garth Murray. Not exactly fantasy linemates but Latendresse's only real value right now is in keeper leagues.
Scouts love his offensive ability, strength and intensity but doubt his skating to succeed at the next level. It's hard to overlook his 137 points in 118 games over two seasons in the QMJHL and his play on the silver medal winning Canadian squad at the 2005 Under-18 Championship. He has NHL size (6'2" and 215 lbs) and the competitiveness to drive for success -- and ultimately get there.