Tag: Louis Leblanc

Louis Leblanc

Au revoir: Habs deal 2009 first-rounder Leblanc to Ducks


The Montreal Canadiens have parted ways with a hometown prospect.

The Canadiens traded 2009 first-round pick Louis Leblanc to the Anaheim Ducks for a 2015 conditional fifth-round pick. Leblanc was born in nearby Point-Claire, Quebec and was given a hero’s welcome when he was taken 18th overall by the host Canadiens.

In three seasons with the Habs organization, Leblanc has struggled to punch his way through to the NHL. In his career with the Canadiens he had five goals and 10 points, all coming in the 2011-12 season.

Since that season he’s played just eight games in the NHL and put up unimpressive numbers in the AHL with Hamilton. He had a career-high 13 goals and 28 points in 70 games with the Bulldogs this season.

Now he’ll get a change of scenery, and perhaps a weight off his shoulders going to the Ducks where he won’t have the pressure of being a Montreal-area kid trying to become the Habs savior. The Ducks are buying low on a guy who had a load of potential coming out of Harvard and hoping his game can take off at a new address.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. ET): Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports says the condition for the Habs to get that fifth-round pick is Leblanc has to play 15 games with the Ducks next season.

Montreal’s Leblanc injures ankle, out 4-6 weeks

Louis Leblanc

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.

Are the Montreal Canadiens as bad off as they seem?

Jacques Martin

It’s no surprise that the Canadiens fired GM Pierre Gauthier. He made a number of controversial decisions and the end result was simply not satisfying. When you look at the Montreal Canadiens right now, you see a team that’s grossly overpaying several players and in the Eastern Conference basement. The next general manager will have a very difficult job because the 2012-13 squad already has over $44 million in cap space tied to 13 players and that’s not including Carey Price or PK Subban, who will both be restricted free agents this summer.

Still, as former Canadiens coach Jacques Martin recently pointed out, this team isn’t exactly devoid of talent. There’s a good young core of players that includes Subban, Price, and David Desharnais. They also have a couple of forwards whose roles could increase in the coming years, including Louis Leblanc and Lars Eller. Throw in a healthy Andrei Markov and, according to Martin, this franchise might be better off than you think.

“The team has to add pieces,” Martin said. “But the key elements are in place.”

It might be more complicated than simply adding pieces, given how bad their cap situation is. Still, it is true that the foundation for a competitive team is already there.

Martin, by the way, is interested in returning to the Canadiens as their general manager. However, it seems unlikely that Martin will go from being fired as the head coach to being selected as the same organization’s general manager in less than a year.