In dropping Alex Plante a cool 10 points in the standings there are two major items in play: first, there are more prospects having good seasons in 2009-10. Second, the step from amateur talent to AHL defender is a big one for these 20-year olds and Plante is no exception. When he played in junior, a friend of mine who scouts for an AJHL team told me that Plante had foot speed and “lateral movement” issues that were going to be a problem as he moved along. I think it may mean his AHL career is a little longer than most mid-first round picks because of it.
How well is he doing in the AHL so far? Rob Daum: “Defense is the toughest position to learn, and even though Alex has had his ups and downs he is progressing nicely. He has a high competitive level and he loves to compete. Even though he’s a young guy in a man’s league he hasn’t taken a backward step.”
We do know that once injuries hit the Oilers and the recalls began that Plante moved up the Springfield depth chart. I’m not certain how his “toughness of minutes” would compare to Chorney’s a year ago but he has played some tough opposition. Plante’s EV scoring is well behind the other young Falcons blueliners over the last few years.
- Chorney 25gp, 0-4-4
- Wild 25gp, 1-2-3
- Pechkam 25gp, 2-1-3
- Motin 21gp, 1-2-3
- Plante 25gp, 0-0-0
And he’s mid-pack in terms of +/- over their first 25 games:
- Wild +3
- Motin +3
- Plante -6
- Peckham -7
- Chorney -14
I would have ranked Plante higher but Johan Motin has performed better (although we don’t know the difference in toughness of minutes). Much of Plante’s offense in junior came off the PP and all of it (in 25 games) at the pro level comes from special teams. He’s not a gifted puck mover and although he has a monster shot Plante isn’t a complete player. His path to the show will come from strong defensive play, and he’s learning on the job.