David Desharnais’ struggles to start the year have finally reached a breaking point.
Desharnais, Montreal’s assist leader in 2011-12, will be a healthy scratch when the Canadiens host the Blues on Tuesday night at the Bell Center, according to TVA Sports.
The decision comes after Desharnais was demoted to the fourth line in the hopes of sparking his offensive output. The 27-year-old has just one point in 15 games this year, his first of a four-year, $14 million extension signed in March.
“He wants success and we’re working with him to make sure that he’s going to get some success,” head coach Michel Therrien told the Montreal Gazette. “But obviously, the success is not there.
“So now we’re in a position, we have to make decisions.”
Desharnais acknowledged he wasn’t playing as well.
“[Therrien] just wants me to compete a little bit more,” he explained. “I’m not producing the way I would like to, and just chip in and help the team win.”
The diminutive center burst onto the scene in ’11-12, scoring a career-high 60 points in 81 games, finishing 24th in the NHL with 44 assists (more than Patrick Kane, Jordan Eberle and Patrice Bergeron). That earned him the big-money extension, which has raised expectations and demands.
In Desharnais’ place, the Habs will dress 30-year-old journeyman Martin St. Pierre, who last played in the NHL during the 2009-10 campaign with Ottawa.