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The CH in the center position: stability and one-two punch

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Back in time

In 2011-2012, David Desharnais, the CH’s first center, had the best season of his career with sixty points. Everybody remembers that his trio with Max Pacioretty (33 goals) and Erik Cole (61 points) was a hit that year.

However, the ghosts of the Punch Line probably left the building the following year. The trio was never able to repeat its prowess in 2013. Then, it was dismantled by Michel Therrien.

Even though Tomas Plekanec overachieved for years, it was in 2013 that the long quest for top center players in the CH began…

To end in 2021.

The jab

For now, the second trio is led by young Nick Suzuki, who scored no less than 41 points in his first season. He will be joined by another finesse player in Jonathan Drouin. However, Josh Anderson will be there to take care of the physical game. Even with a shortened season, don’t count on Suzuki to slow down, playing all 56 games, the 45-point plateau is realistic for him. So I don’t have to remind you that he’ll be on the lookout for the pool season!

The Punch

In 2018, Jesperi Kotkaniemi arrived. After an impressive first season of 34 points, he was a bit disappointing the following season but bounced back well in the series. It was his physical game that impressed the most, transforming himself into exactly the type of player Marc Bergevin loves.

In 2021, expect to see him pick up where he left off. For the moment on the third line, we’re back to the same formula as with the second, but this time with another big guy in Joel Armia and a sniper in Tyler Toffoli. « KK » will have all the elements in hand to have the best season of his young career. My colleague from DLE even predicts about 40 points!

The stability

Where’ s the beauty in all this? The two young center players will not have to rush their development, as the CH will still be able to count on Phillip Danault to play on a first trio of veterans with Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar. With his defensive play, Danault has proven in recent playoffs that he can take on the best trio of opponents.

At one point-in-time, also because of his defensive game, Plekanec had the role of Danault, but no transition was in sight.

Today, behind its first defensive center, the CH is counting on a young, talented and rising young offensive « one-two punch ».

After almost a decade of setbacks at the center position in Montreal, no you’re not dreaming, the nightmare is simply over.

Translated by Michel-Alexandre Broekaert

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