Repotting Plante?

This is Alex Plante on his draft day. Since this photo was taken things have gone a little sideways for him. Injuries and ineffective play cost him a lot of time last season and apparently there were some bad feelings between player and team (Calgary Hitmen, WHL) a year ago.

Plante didn’t show up for camp and is waiting to be traded by the Calgary Hitmen. GM Kelly Kisio was quoted in the Herald today as saying “you sit back and scratch your head and wonder what you have to do to make kids happy. We played him with Karl Alzner so he could have a big draft year, then he gets hurt and has trouble getting back into game shape and we’re getting blamed for it.” Which is true, Kisio is being framed as the bad guy here but it’s also true (based on other reports) the Hitmen knew at this year’s NHL draft that Plante had no plans to return to Calgary so this could have been solved many weeks ago.

You’d like to see him end his junior career on a positive note, although this won’t cost him in terms of preparedness for the coming season. Plante will be at rookie camp and then Oilers main camp later this month and from all reports had a solid summer. He survived Mandelbaum training in California (he spent 3 weeks on the pain train) and impressed the Oilers organization earlier this summer at the prospect camp.

Guy Flaming reported earlier this summer (mid-June) that “one source told me that Plante’s camp were disappointed with the way he’d lost his spot last year due to injury and another source described the situation to me by saying “he became a whipping boy for [head coach Kelly] Kisio”.

So it’s probably best that Plante play in another town. Hopefully he’s traded soon, as the one thing he doesn’t need is an extended period without game action this fall and winter.

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29 Responses to "Repotting Plante?"

  1. mc79hockey says:

    We played him with Karl Alzner so he could have a big draft year

    There’s your clubhouse leader for self-serving statement of the year.

  2. Ribs says:

    Someone better inform Mr. Kisio that it’s pretty hard to get into shape when your ice time slips to half of what you’re used to.

    Good for Plante for getting the hell outta Dodge.

  3. spOILer says:

    What I don’t get is why this is an issue that is being dragged out and so publicly.

    Trades and disagreements happen all the time in the CHL, and players are moved with little of the posturing we’re seeing here.

    The “big draft year” statement is a joke. Who sets their defensive pairings on this basis?

    Is Kisio sabotaging the compensation he’d get in return?

    Is he pissed because a former stalwart was sent back to him as damaged goods?

    I don’t know, nothing about this makes much sense. Trade Plante to a team that will give him minutes, take your compensation and be done with it. Why have the whiny foot-dragging?

  4. Bruce says:

    Any chance Calgary trades with Edmonton in that league?

    You’d think the Oil Kings would have more than one reason to showcase Oiler draft picks.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: It would be a helluva move for the Oil Kings, they could use a pretty well known (amongst fans) player coming in.

    I don’t know that they have much to trade in return, though. Hitmen would appear (based on Kisio’s comments) to be looking for a big minutes defender in return.

  6. Schitzo says:

    I choose to put on the tinfoil hat and assume Calgary is just fucking with an Oiler draft pick on purpose.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I’m leaning that way too. I’ve got the pickup fueled up, the gun rack full of rifles, a 2-4 and a full supply of Copenhagen. Once I find my teeth I’m on the road.

  8. raventalon40 says:

    Wait LT, you’re gonna need my boomerang and C4 skills. We’re gonna level the Saddledome!

  9. bookie says:

    Hmmm… Yeah, maybe he got a bit shafted in Calgary, but it seems to me like a good hard working player would make his case for more time on the Ice…Does this mean that he will be doing the same thing to the Oilers in a couple of years?

  10. Lowetide says:

    bookie: At this point I suspect he’d be thrilled with an entry level deal from Edmonton. There’s every chance they won’t sign him and choose the pick instead should he do poorly this season.

  11. Schitzo says:

    Well, the Oilers have had good luck so far on that ~45th overall consolation prize

  12. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    Plante had bust written over him from the minute he was drafted. I live in Calgary and watched him play 10 or so games in his draft year and thought he was closer to a 3rd or 4th round pick than a mid first. He has decent hockey IQ so maybe if he learns how to skate he can become a PB guy in 5 years.

    On the bright side Cherry and Espo (who most fans were screaming at their TV’s to draft) are both looking like bad picks as well.

  13. Lowetide says:

    I never understand all this “bust when he was taken” stuff. Plante was well thought of by several sources on draft day:

    TSN: 32
    CSB: 72 NA
    ISS: 28
    RLR: 19
    McK: 50
    THN: 16

    And the hardest nuts (The Shawshank Prison of draft publications) Redline report said this:

    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.

    So when people say “draft bust” I think they mean “the Oilers were shitty at drafting while I was growing up and I have a sinking feeling they’re at it again.”

    Which is different.

  14. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    “So when people say “draft bust” I think they mean “the Oilers were shitty at drafting while I was growing up and I have a sinking feeling they’re at it again.”

    huh….

    I would rank Edmonton in the top 5 right now in amateur scouting.

    Plante was taken as a project, all scouts realized his potential (6’4 220 ALWAYS bumps you ahead in the draft (Blake Wheeler)) but the opinion of him actually reaching his potential wasn’t uniform. Steve Ludzig had this to say about him “Plate skates like he is wearing kodiak’s”

    There was a very good reason he was heralded as a “home run” pick. He could turn out to be a ECHL veteran or a top 4 NHL defenfemen that QB’s the PP.

  15. Lowetide says:

    So when you wrote “Plante had bust written all over him the day he was drafted” you meant “he’s a risky pick.”

    My bad.

  16. Say No to Mike Johnson says:

    Yeah I think half of scouts probably looked at his huge potential and the other half looked at the risk and said no thanks. I’ve always been on the latter side. At the same time Plante was drafted as a 4 year project and I’m no expert at projecting 17 year old kids 4 years down the line.

  17. PunjabiOil says:

    The Oilers would be required, as per the CBA to present Plante with a bona-fide offer. If they do not, they will lose Plante without any compensation.

    I believe bona-fide offer means an entry level contract. So in that sense, the Oilers could offer Plante with a 3 year minimum salary deal – and hope that Plante rejects it.

    Still, a bit too premature. He has a long learning hill, and I belive the Oilers knew that, and will be patient.

  18. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: They have to sign him before this upcoming draft, right? I think it’s about 50/50 at this point.

  19. Asiaoil says:

    With the Hitmen being owned by the Flames I think there is no doubt that they were/are messing with the kid. Business is business and the Falmes are not going to help the Oilers in any way – but it’s still a pretty shitty thing to do to a kid’s career. Basically this means the Oilers will never draft a Hitman player again. Interesting to think if this played into the MAP vs Getzlaf draft decision a few years back?

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    Lowetide: Yes I believe it is 2 years.

    It will be interesting how Plante plays out this year. A guy who put up some pretty solid numbers as a 17 year old, was effectively left off the scoresheets consistently as an 18 year old.

    Injuries may have played a role, but I expect a bounce-back 19 year old season. I am not certain a 45th overall pick would neccessarily be a better option, but that depends a lot on how this season goes.

    AsiaOil: That is exactly how I see it. I would not be surprised if the higher-ups of the Hitmen played a role. Good on Plante for requesting a trade.

  21. bookie says:

    I think that this ‘team second’ attitude that Plante is demonstrating (ie. not showing up for camp and demanding to be traded) will convince the Oil not to sign him…who needs another whiner when most have been purged from the team.

  22. ClaytonMagnet says:

    I’ve heard a few times (on the Fan 960) that the Wheat Kings are interested in him (his home town team).

  23. nancy says:

    “I think that this ‘team second’ attitude that Plante is demonstrating (ie. not showing up for camp and demanding to be traded) will convince the Oil not to sign him…who needs another whiner when most have been purged from the team.”

    Clearly the oilers knew he had asked for a trade, as to whether they knew he would sit out training camp, who knows, but I’m assuming that if the Oilers had a problem with him not going to camp they would have mentioned it. Seeing as how he’s come off a terrible year, my guess is he does whatever the parent club wants because after a year like that pissing them off is not the greatest idea…

  24. rickibear says:

    Nancy hits it out of the park!

  25. Doogie2K says:

    So I get back from vacation tonight and I see this? Well, shit. I have no idea what to make of all this just yet, but I have to disagree with AO:

    With the Hitmen being owned by the Flames I think there is no doubt that they were/are messing with the kid. Business is business and the Falmes are not going to help the Oilers in any way – but it’s still a pretty shitty thing to do to a kid’s career. Basically this means the Oilers will never draft a Hitman player again. Interesting to think if this played into the MAP vs Getzlaf draft decision a few years back?

    They may be owned by the Flames, but they’re in the business of winning hockey games, just like any other team. There’s just not enough evidence here of intentional sabotage to say anything like this, and if there was, I have to think the WHL/CHL would have something to say about it, because it runs counter to the ideals (and presumably, rules) of the League. I mean, who have the Hitmen had that the Oilers drafted anyway? Pettersen? Long shot to make the Show who played well for two years before heading home. Plante? Jury’s still out on his ultimate destiny, but the reality is, the Hitmen had six defencemen that they were happy with already, and I could see that at the time. I didn’t think much of Keith Seabrook’s play — unlike Plante, who flourished with Alzner, Seabrook only seemed to make the guy work even harder to cover his dumb ass — but given that Plante was coming off injury after injury, I wouldn’t play the guy in my top four right away, either. Sure, maybe if he’d played with Alzner, his counting numbers would be up a little, but last year was going to be a write-off regardless. If you can connect the dots between Pettersen and Plante, congratulations, you’ve clearly got something more here than I do, and I’ve been to over 80 Hitmen games in the last two years.

    I’m not saying that Kisio is blameless here; I agree with Tyler and Ribs that his comments come off as self-serving and stupid, and I never think it’s fair for a player to lose his position to injury. I’m saying that you’re crafting conspiracy theories where perfectly reasonable explanations would suffice. I also think that Plante needs to man up and either state his case or shut up and go to camp.

  26. SledDogs says:

    I agree that this year is very important to Plante and if there is any hint that there are any Oilers vs Flames politics involved, who could blame him for requesting a change of scenery to prove what he can do without the politics.

    No one has more to prove/gain than him.

    If he stays in Calgary and they do not play him, how can he prove that he was worth the pick.

    First rounders get paid much more so if he doesn’t play and he goes back into the draft, he loses big time.

    This does not look like a “Team Second” attitude to me, it actually kind of smells like a kid played his heart out for a team and then had the misfortune of being drafted by the big, bad Oilers.

    How many minutes would he have seen if he was drafted by the Flames?

    Just my two cents.

  27. Doogie2K says:

    How many minutes would he have seen if he was drafted by the Flames?

    The same.

    Because you people with your conspiracy theories are crazy.

    How many Hitmen have been drafted by the Flames, anyway? Brent Krahn and…?

  28. Rand says:

    Call me crazy, but I’m thinking this is a business to them. Their in this to make money and win hockey games.
    I’m guessing their primary goal in owning a franchise is not to seek out kids drafted by the Oilers and do their best to ruin their careers.

    I know you hate Calgary but this is just silly, seriously think through the logic here.
    I’d be willing to bet Kisio is far more interested in Plante’s positive development then anyone here. Because Plante playing well means Kisio is doing his job well.

    And doing your job well usually means you keep it, and get a raise. And in hockey management keeping your job isn’t always easy.

    But hey, maybe winning is secondary to hunting down all the Oiler prospects they can find and benching them for a few years. Evil dastardly plans. Who cares about winning when you can help ruin a guys career?!

  29. Doogie2K says:

    Heh. Thank you Rand. Like I said, I think Kisio mismanaged this situation somewhat, but there’s no malice here, just human error.

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