Plante Shows Growth

Alex Plante is having a very nice start to his season. For a guy who battled injuries and forces real or imagined in the manager’s office a year ago, Plante’s having a terrific beginning to this year on all fronts.

Even more amazing is that the season started with a trade request and it looked like the Oilers first rounder would be sitting out many games again this season.

Since that would be a disaster based on how much time was missed a year ago, Plante and the Oilers should be very happy that it all worked out with the Hitmen.

Plante as a prospect has taken a beating from fans since his draft day. I’ve read some things that are not factual, implying Plante was a “reach pick” along the lines of Jesse Niinimaki. For the record, Plante was safely inside the first round on the Redline and ISS lists.

Another thing about Plante that is misguided is the idea that he’s been inconsistent offensively. The big “spike” season came when he was used heavily on the powerplay. Here are the EV stats (with points-per-game) for Alexandre Plante:

  • 05-06EV: 54gp, 1-3-4 .074
  • 06-07EV: 58gp, 2-9-11 .190
  • 07-08EV: 16gp, 1-1-2 .125
  • 08-09EV: 13gp, 1-5-6 .462

Plante went 6-21-27 with the man advantage in his draft year (.466 ppg) and so far this year he’s 1-2-3 (.231) with the man advantage. Anyone who wants to check my math (probably a good idea) can find the information on the fairly user-friendly WHL site. If my math is correct, Plante is posting some exceptional EV numbers and should be a strong candidate for AHL employment in that gifted Springfield backfield one year from now.

Plante’s having a good season so far, out of the shadow of last season’s injuries. I think he’s been a tough prospect to follow (Alzner was the vaunt, and despite being 9 months younger and clearly not in the Alzner league he was compared to his D partner and that’s a tough comp) but this season Alex Plante is posting numbers that will get noticed.

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6 Responses to "Plante Shows Growth"

  1. Doogie2K says:

    Fans are the same everywhere you go. Some people are bound and determined to shove Shawn Horcoff onto the third line, trade Hemsky, etc. Some people in my section will bitch out Plante for every perceived mistake, imagined, minor, or major. Maybe I’m a bit of a fanboy the other way, because he’s both a Hitman and an Oiler, but I think he gets criticized a bit too much for things he may or may not have had any control over. Who knew a trade demand would turn the booster club against you? ;)

    I think a key part of his development is that he really has gotten faster. He’s winning races I never saw him win in his draft year. It may not be NHL-level speed, but it’s certainly sufficient for the WHL. He’s also shown a lot of toughness early, by getting into a number of scraps, including a pretty vicious one against Tyler Halliday of the Prince George Cougars, while also being careful to pick his spots, often opting for the rub-out over the BIG HIT. He still has warts — he’ll lose his man in front of the net sometimes, and fail to engage him, he’s made some slow decisions and gotten burned on them, and while he’s gotten faster, he’s no Scott Niedermayer — but how many 19-year-old defencemen don’t have a few holes?

    Perhaps most importantly, though, he doesn’t have Karl F. Alzner to lean on and/or be (unfairly) compared to, so he’s forced to sink or swim on his own a lot more than he was at 17. Put another way, no one outside the junior-hockey community knows who the hell Paul Postma or Keith Seabrook are (except for the latter being Brent’s brother).

  2. Simon says:

    True story. I heard a fan on Tencer’s show two years ago suggest trading Hemsky for Darcy Tucker.
    Tencer, to his credit, was not amused.

  3. Bruce says:

    …being careful to pick his spots, often opting for the rub-out over the BIG HIT

    D2K: There used to be fans in Edmonton who HATED Randy Gregg for this same attribute. This would be the same Randy Gregg who won five Stanley Cups in this city while posting a career +164 in the regular season and +71 in the playoffs despite being a second/third pairing guy who rarely shared the ice with the likes of Wayne Gretzky. But he was a big guy who didn’t try to kill people — damn doctors! — and the fact that he was never swimming around a mile out of position after missing the guy he took a run at was a subtlety that was lost on more than a few folk.

  4. Doogie2K says:

    But he was a big guy who didn’t try to kill people — damn doctors! — and the fact that he was never swimming around a mile out of position after missing the guy he took a run at was a subtlety that was lost on more than a few folk.

    Indeed. Over the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate the art of angling a guy out of play and riding him into the boards, giving up nothing, instead of lining him up from centre ice and burying the shoulder, risking the chance that he dances around you and makes you look stupid for the sake of the Earth-shattering kaboom.

  5. DeBakey says:

    I’ve read some things that are not factual, implying Plante was a “reach pick”

    Yeah, Stauffer almost daily
    [Though he never used KL's name]

    As evidence he noted
    Central Scouting had Plante rated lower

    And that, my fiends,
    is a large part of the reason
    The Oilers brought Stauffer over
    to shut him up,
    Tencerfy him.

  6. docweb says:

    I did my Pediatrics rotation with Randy in the fall of 1985. Great guy, hard worker, nothing flashy but solid…like he was on the ice. A couple of years later at a TGIF held at the Alex, Randy was there and I went up to say hello. As a bigtime NHL guy he could easily have done the “and you are???” but no… we had a real chat. Some people are just “solid” no matter what happens to them in life and Randy is one of those. If Alex has half the career of Randy Gregg and has half of his character he will have done well in life.

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