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Montreal Canadiens prospect Louis Leblanc.
Admittedly, the main reason prospect Louis Leblanc is poised to take a huge step forward in 2013-14 is because he’s pretty much run out of room to go backward in his development.
After playing in 42 games in the NHL in 2011-12, he fell behind Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher on the team’s depth chart up front last season and didn’t make it out of the American Hockey League.
What’s even worse is he scored a horrible 10 goals and eight assists in 62 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs. To put that total in the proper perspective, the previous season when in Hamilton, he played just half that amount of games but scored 11 goals and 22 points.
Needless to say his development took a hit in 2013, but he’s still an 18th-overall pick (2009). Sure, first-round picks turn out to be busts all the time, but they usually still have the talent to make it and just don’t for lack of other intangibles.
It’s kind of up in the air right now as to which intangibles Leblanc possesses and which he lacks. However, that first-round skill he has should at the very least enable him to rebound considerably in the minors if not with the Habs themselves.
With two roster spots reportedly up for grabs up front to start the season, according to TVA Sports, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Leblanc gets another shot to prove himself with the Habs this year. If he doesn’t, he’s still bound to play better with the Bulldogs relative to last year.
It’s kind of impossible for him to play any worse.