Seemingly forgotten about amid all the top-tier prospects gracing the Montréal Canadiens lineup and AHL affiliate is 2009 first-round pick (18th overall) Louis Leblanc, who did suit up for 42 NHL games last season, but who was slowed down by a high ankle sprain for the 2012-13 season, ion which he amassed a mere 18 points in 62 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs when he'd put up 22 in 31 games the previous season in the AHL to go with his 10 in 42 games with the Habs.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said it best when he mentioned that had it might have been better had he broken the ankle, since there is a clear timetable when that happens, and the player is out of the lineup completely, not trying to play despite the pain.
That's all fine and well, but it doesn't explain why Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre had him skating on the third line all year, especially since he'd shown some fine playmaking, skating and shooting skills last season, one of the few positives for a team that finished last in its conference. He was rookie of the year in the USHL in 2008-09, again the next year when suiting up for the Harvard Crimson, and could have earned nods for that honour last year had he remained in the AHL the whole time. In his one season with the LHJMQ's Montréal Junior, he collected 58 points and 100 penalty minutes in 51 games in the pressure cooker that is not only his hometown, but also the city his NHL team called home.
Maybe they just want to break him, like they did with Mike Ribeiro; if so, maybe he'll just blossom wearing another uniform...
I wrote Leblanc a fan letter on January 24, 2013, with these 3 cards and got them all abck today, signed in blue sharpie, along with this scary note from Canada Post:
First up is this 2011-12 AHL Top Prospects card (15 in the set) from Choice Sportscards - your AHL card leader:
past Alain Chevrier cards...
And finally, an NHL card, from Panini's 2012-13 Score set (card #280), taking a shot under the watchful eye of Tomas Plekanec: