Sunday, July 13, 2014

Louis Leblanc Jersey Card

The Anaheim Ducks signed former Montréal Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc to a one-year, two-way contract earlier this weekend, probably as a means to really show what he can do in their own system, and be assessed by their own staff rather than look at the raw stats and read dumb comments like ''what a bust'' from anonymous internet bloggers who have never seen him play.

Every single one of his statistics can be used in a positive and negative light: he played 8 games with the Habs last year, without registering a single point - but he played less than 10 minutes a game and was a +1; he only scored 13 goals for the Hamilton Bulldogs this past year - it was the 4th-best total on the team despite being the third-line center (behind Martin St. Pierre and Gabriel Dumont); he only scored 13 the year before - yeah, but that ranked second on the team, despite missing 20 games with a serious injury.

To me, all of that shows promise, and how a difficult context can hinder one's progress. Of course, he'll have to either put the past behind or use it as motivation, but he can't solely focus on the time he's lost with the Habs, because that might lead him the Angelo Esposito route and have him play in second-tier Italian leagues in no time.

This won't be his last chance to play in the NHL by any stretch of the imagination, but it could be the last time someone offers him a legitimate chance at proving he can be a  long-time quality second-line player.

And so this should be my last post on Mr. Leblanc until he scores his first NHL hat trick or something; what better way to do it than with this beautiful 2012-13 Artifacts (card #141) by Upper Deck, numbered #11/125, featuring two swatches - one of them a two-colour one - of him playing for Team Canada:
He medaled twice for Canada, having won gold at the 2008 U-18 / Ivan Hlinka tournament, and silver at the 2011 World Juniors, posting 12 points in 11 games in those tournaments, finishing first and fourth in team scoring, respectively.

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