The legend that was never written. Point-Claire’s own Louis Leblanc had his name written in the stars on 2009’s draft day in Montreal where he would be selected in the first round by the Canadiens, igniting the hope of La Belle Province bearing witness to the budding and eventual blossom of a Quebecois superstar to join the ranks of so many legends before. It seemed as though it was such a reasonable hope for the 18th overall selection in the QMJHL draft who posted impressive numbers in his time within the league.
However, the fate of this move was ultimately sealed on that very same day. Feeling the pressure to draft a kid from Quebec, the Canadiens opted for Louis Leblanc over Trevor Timmins’ now ironic first choice based on their position in that draft: Chris Kreider, who has since gone on to solidify a place on the New York Rangers’ second line. The butterfly effect from that day on would spin a tangled web.
Louis Leblanc had it all going for him: from success in the Q to Ivy League rookie of the year to finalist for the ECAC rookie of the year all the way to an AHL debut for the Hamilton Bulldogs scoring three points –including the overtime winner– along the way against the Rochester Americans, everything was coming up aces for the young hopeful. Few prospects seemed so promising in recent times for the Canadiens and it looked like they had a blue chip in Leblanc. This eventually led to him being called up to the main roster for the Canadiens just one month later and all eyes were upon him.
However, this was in the early portion of what turned out to be a dreadful season. He managed 10 points in 42 games while in Montreal that season in addition to 22 points in 31 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs. So things went awry in his first season but everything looked promising otherwise and tomorrow would be a new day.
…that is until October of 2012 when Louis would sustain a high ankle sprain, an injury that has proven to be an essential death warrant to any given hockey player. Somewhere between never being the same after his injury, brought back from it too soon and Sylvain Lefebvre’s infinite wisdom (sarcasm) telling him to play Leblanc with Kyle Hagel and Zack Stortini; neither individual renowned for their offensive prowess, Leblanc was doomed.
Another promising youngster for the Canadiens mishandled by those concerning professional development and Sylvain Lefebvre. A narrative that has yet to be corrected to this day.
Leblanc would go on to be traded after the end of the 2014 season to the Anaheim Ducks for a 5th round pick in the 2015 draft; a fresh start but the damage had already been done. Leblanc would bounce around between a two-way contract with the New York Islanders, a venture overseas to the KHL with HC Slovan Bratislava and finally Lausanne HC of the NLA in Switzerland.
Louis Leblanc has since announced his retirement and now stands as a shining example of what happens when promising youngsters are mishandled by reckless, irresponsible pro development staff. Through no fault of his own, Leblanc will never be able to live up to the hype.
We here at All About The Habs wish Louis all the best in his future endeavors.
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