David Desharnais had a horrible start to the season that had many lamenting the contract extension he received the previous year. He responded and turned the contract into a good one instead of one many thought would hurt the team.
STATS: 79 Games | 16 G-36 A = 52 P | 24 PIM | +11 | 50.3% Corsi | 6.1 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 17 games | 2 G-6 A = 8 P | 6 PIM | +4 | 49.5% Corsi
STORY: David Desharnais was so bad to start the season that the newly elected mayor of Montreal was screaming for him to be sent to Hamilton. And the weird thing was, it wasn’t hard to blame him.
Desharnais was struggling. He had one point – an assist – in his first 19 games. After that, he had 16 goals and 35 assists (51 points) in his last 60 games. Give him credit: he turned it around.
By the end of the season, he would have only one point less than P.K. Subban in three less games. Not too bad for someone who was probably the team’s most disappointing player through 20 games.
It all changed for Desharnais against the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he scored the game-winning goal in a shootout.
Two games later, he had two assists against Minnesota. The next game, his first game-action goal. Two games after that, a second goal and an assist. He was off to the races.
When Desharnais signed his extension, I thought it was a horrible move. Overpaying a player who was riding on Max Pacioretty‘s coattails.
However, as the season went on and into the playoffs, he became a play driver. He was playing extremely well defensively. He was becoming a very good player and deserves tons of credit.
He has made himself into a very good top six player.
FUTURE: Desharnais has three years left at $3.5 million. It is very modest and at the worst, very tradeable. However, if he keeps playing the way he finished off the year, it will be a bargain.
For whatever reason, Pacioretty and Desharnais work together and the main challenge for Marc Bergevin and company is to find them another winger. Someone like Thomas Vanek but who plays to their style.
2017-18: Unrestricted Free-Agent