Why David Desharnais Is the Next Big Thing for the Montreal Canadiens

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IAugust 11, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 30: (R) David Desharnais #51 of the Montreal Canadiens  reaches for the puck past (L) Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For everything bad that happened in Montreal last year, there were a few highlights Habs fans can take home with them when they dream about next year.

Max Pacioretty came back from one of the most brutal injuries we've seen in recent memory and led the team in scoring.

Erik Cole posted his best year ever, despite being out of his comfort zone in Carolina.

Then there was the undrafted center who had been working hard in the AHL where he made a name for himself: David Desharnais

In what was a dismal year that resulted in a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens can find solace in the fact that they may finally have a plug with Desharnais to replace the massively overpaid and under-performing Scott Gomez. 

In what could be considered his first full NHL season, Desharnais picked up where he left off the previous year, and then built on that strong performance.

In the 2010-11 season the Quebec City native scored at a half-point per game pace, putting up 22 points in 43 games.

This past season he was one of the NHL's biggest surprises, while managing to maintain a low profile everywhere outside of Montreal. Scoring well over his previous mark, Desharnais went on a 0.74 points per game run, playing in all but one game with the Habs last season. 

With one year left on his contract, and deserving a big pay raise over his $850K salary, it may be hard for the Canadiens to keep him if he keeps up his above-average play.

P.K. Subban still needs a new contract and Max Pacioretty will also be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. 

With third overall draft pick Alex Galchenyuk expected to come into the organization a year from now, the Canadiens will have to decide who exactly is the future of this team.