The Montreal Canadiens were dealt a blow when prized youngster Louis Leblanc hurt himself playing for AHL Hamilton.
This week, they learned how big a blow it was.
Leblanc will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to CBC. The injury stems from a second period collision Leblanc had with Toronto Marlies defenseman Jesse Blacker in Saturday’s 5-0 loss .
Taken 18th overall at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Leblanc made his NHL debut with Montreal last season, appearing in 42 games while registering 5G-5A-10PTS.
While the performance hardly jumped off the page, Leblanc still drew a lot of attention.
He’s a Quebec native that played his junior hockey with Montreal of the QMJHL and, as Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated explains, that background comes with a large amount of pressure:
There is a disproportionate interest in Leblanc, something well beyond the natural curiosity of glimpsing any first-rounder for the first time. (Leblanc, a natural center who can play the wing, was the 18th player selected in the 2009 draft, which was held in the Canadiens’ home arena.)
He is a local, having grown up in a western suburb on the island of Montreal, 25 minutes, give or take rush-hour traffic, from the Bell Centre. He also is a francophone, which, in some small measure, shores up the identity of a franchise that has lost its accent as it has lost its way.
Leblanc has appeared in three games for Hamilton this season, scoring twice.