30-Year-Old Center – Montreal Canadiens
David Desharnais Contract Information:
Signed a four-year contract extension with the Canadiens in March of 2013.
Desharnais (knee) skated Tuesday, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette reports.
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David Desharnais: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The slick-handed Desharnais turned in a another solid season last year, generating 48 points as well as a plus-22 rating while playing 82 games for the first time, but his fantasy game has a lot of shortcomings. His point total is always assist-heavy -- he scored just 14 goals last year and has a career high of 16 -- and he doesn't contribute much in other categories, as he doesn't take many penalties, has never put 100 shots on goal in a season, and doesn't offer many hits or blocks, either. While Desharnais currently remains in a top-six role for the Canadiens, if Alex Galchenyuk turns last year's big improvement into a full-on breakout -- a strong possibility -- it could be Desharnais who finds himself bumped out of the picture. On the flip side, Galchenyuk could stay at the wing and play alongside Desharnais, which would have the opposite effect. Despite the wide range of possible outcomes, Desharnais has established a solid floor that makes him a safe and relatively inexpensive draft-day investment.
After signing a four-year contract in the off-season, Desharnais endured a horrendous drought early in the year and barely held onto his spot as a top-six forward. Sometime around late November, he started to make an impact offensively and never stopped. He was second on the team with 36 assists and continues to be the center on a line with Max Pacioretty, Montreal's most productive goal-scorer. A similar role in 2014-15 is envisioned for Desharnais.
Desharnais took a step back in 2012-13, scoring just 28 points while finishing at minus-2 in 48 games for the Canadiens. He had been part of Montreal's only good line the season before when he scored 60 points, but the undersized center appeared overmatched at times, especially in the playoffs against the giants on Ottawa's blue line. Still, the Habs like him enough and re-signed him for another four seasons. DD's good on the dot and has a proven rapport with Max Pacioretty, the team's leading goal scorer the past two seasons, dating back to their time in the AHL. He'll return as a top-six center.
Desharnais continued his development with Montreal, earninig a larger and larger role as the season wore on. He eventually dislodged Tomas Plekanec as the as the center on the first line, showing good chemistry with team-leading goal scorers Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole. Desharnais is a trusted player, who takes faceoffs and plays on both special teams units; his 17 assists and 20 points on the power play led the team. Head coach Michel Therrien will keep the top line together to open the season but there will be a top-six spot for Desharnais should the coach feel the need to restructure his lines.
The 24-year-old Desharnais played significant minutes for Montreal in 2010-11, registering eight goals and 22 points in 43 games. Desharnais showed an ability to create offensive chances from any line, skating with various combinations, and was a trusted man on faceoffs. He played well enough to earn more than the 12:52 of ice time he averaged, but his size works against him. Montreal coach Jacques Martin was comfortable using him on both special teams units and had him with the second line at times, but he mostly skated on the fourth line. With a full season at the parent club and continued use on the power play (four PPG last year), Desharnais could push the 20-goal mark.