Oilers #12 Prospect December 2007: Alexandre Plante

Current Rank: 12

Summer 2007 Rank: 9

Injury. Edmonton Oiler fans have seen a lot of good young defense prospects lose most or all of their careers to injury over the years. Selmar Odelein, Nick Stajduhar and Doug Lynch among the names who washed out before making names for themselves at the NHL level.

Plante’s story is an interesting one that I’ve detailed in the past here and here. There’s a fine interview on the Oilers site where you get his initial reaction to being drafted, and he comes off as a well spoken young man who is clearly pleased to have been drafted in the middle of the first round. “I really had no clue where I was going to go. My agent said I could go in the first round or I could go in the third, it was a pretty wide open draft. I was excited and honoured when I heard my name. It’s such a great hockey organization, it gave me a chance to stay up here in Canada, it was all around unreal.”

Plante’s scouting reports run the gamut. I have a friend in the hockey industry who scouts many nights each winter and his comments to me on Plante are so wide ranging we call him Jekyll and Hyde. He can look very good or very bad based on the game you’re watching. Generally speaking that is not a good sign for a prospect and added to the injury concerns (it’s his back, GREAT) Plante is a little off the pace being set by Gagner and Nash among the trio of first rounders from the 2007 draft.

Plante has missed a lot of time this season to injury (last night’s game was #36 for the Hitmen and marks the season’s halfway point. Plante has played 8 games, going 1-1-2, +3), and his back injury has impacted an already inconsistent junior career. His junior coach is frustrated by the injury but likes him (Kelly Kisio: “We haven’t had a chance to play him this year. But over the last couple of years he’s improved a great deal. His foot-speed has come a long way, his natural instincts have come out”) and his 17-year old junior season was quality (58gp, 8-30-38 and a 13gp, 5-6-11 playoff).

The highlights so far are two outstanding scouting reports from the best services available to fans:

Redline: Alex Plante has come a long way since the beginning of the season. At 6-4/215-pounds, he showed surprising offensive skills, particularly on the PP, where he can act as either trigger man or quarterback. He’s not a big baggage smasher, but will use his body in front and to tie forwards up along the walls.

ISS: Great size, not afraid of rough stuff. Has improved speed, good first pass, rarely gets beaten one on one. Pro size with hockey sense. A good defender who could play in all situations. Without a doubt one of the biggest draft wildcards. The number one attraction of this player is his combination of outstanding size and skill. He is blessed with a genetic gift and a relatively high level of skating and puck skill for a player this big. Plante is an intense player who is mean and not afraid of playing along the boards or competing physically. He has a good stride and his agility is improving. This has led to a definite improvement in his overall play and a climb up our rankings.

Plante needs to play most or all of the remaining 37 games of the WHL schedule this winter and obviously needs to have a bigger impact on the offensive side of the game. Fellow Hitmen defender Karl Alzner is having another fine year and the team itself is having a nice run after a slow start.

The story on Alex Plante this fall has been poor, but there’s plenty of time to edit the script.

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4 Responses to "Oilers #12 Prospect December 2007: Alexandre Plante"

  1. Doogie says:

    Plante, much like the Hitmen, was good enough, but hardly spectacular last night. Actually, Michael Stone and Keith Seabrook (!) had better overall games, I thought. He attempted to join the fistic festivities last night with under three to go, but some flying linesmen kept him and his would-be dance partner apart (the referees had long since lost control of the game — notice that Luke Egener of Red Deer is miscredited with Scott Doucet’s instigating misconduct: the fight broke out when Ryan Gillen ran Egener from behind; Egener did not return). At the end of the game, I was watching with some interest as the linesmen tried desparately to prevent a line brawl (they barely managed it), and noticed that Martin Jones, the Hitmen’s “backup” goalie, was parked at the hashmarks waiting for Red Deer’s Travis Rolheiser to either A. go behind the net and join the fun or B. meet him at centre. Neither happened, and the whole thing ended at that. Games like this one (or OTT-PHI ’04, or CGY-ANA ’01) are possibly the only sane argument in favour of bringing back bench-clearing brawls, because at least you’d get it over with, rather than stopping every 90 seconds for someone else to get their frustrations out.

    Also, I wouldn’t really characterize the Hitmen as having a slow start. They were something like 9-1-1 out of the gate and peaked at 2nd in the weekly CHL rankings, but they’ve been inconsistent since then — sometimes looking like worldbeaters, sometimes looking like they can’t be bothered — which has led to their fall from grace. They have an annoying habit of making the opposing goalie look good and their own look bad on some nights (in a game last month against Edmonton, they were outshooting the Oil Kings 48-13 at one point in a 3-3 tie; the game finished 5-3 Hitmen, but it was looking damned sketchy for a few minutes there). More than anything, as I stated before, it’s mostly a case of the team being exceedingly good, and knowing it, and therefore not being willing to put in the effort on a nightly basis. You’d think with an ass-kicker like Kisio, this wouldn’t be a problem, but you’d be mistaken in that belief. They’ve lost a number of games against eminently beatable opponents, and it’ll hurt them in the standings, though once they playoffs begin, they’re certainly capable of making a run to the Finals.

  2. doritogrande says:

    I’d like to know where the recurring back problems rumour came from. The Oilers Junior update article by Guy Flaming over at the HF boards reports that Plante Charley-horsed his ass, link http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/10022/oilers_junior_prospects_update/.

    I literally hit my roof when the Oilers drafted this kid with the 15th pick, I can’t wait to see him dominate the game like the gigantic specimen he is. When he makes the NHL he should play at roughly the size of Chris Pronger, which is intimidating to say the least. His footspeed isn’t the greatest, but it can’t be worse than Corey Cross, can it?

  3. Lowetide says:

    dorito: I got it from an article on the Hitmen site. I’ll find it and post later (it isn’t my TURN!).

    Kids.

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