On almost every level he has played on, David Desharnais has been criticized about his size. Desharnais has posted amazing numbers in all the leagues he has been in, and has shown significant improvement. Somehow, despite improving his production, being the captain of his team, and being named the CHL’s most gentlemanly player in 2006-2007, Desharnais was never drafted in the NHL Entry Draft. In 2007, the Montreal Canadiens signed Desharnais as a free agent after being invited to their training camp, where they must have seen something potential in Desharnais.
The 5’7 center has had a great career in every level he has played on, including the QMJHL. When he played for Chicoutimi, where he spent 4 seasons, he posted 51, 97, 118, and 108 points respectively. That is solid improvement for the young Quebec native. He was also named the QMJHL’s most gentlemanly player 3 consecutive times in his CHL career. Not to mention in his last year he was named the CHL’s most gentlemanly player.
Desharnais made his debut as a member of the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate at the time. He had a phenomenal first season with Cincinnati, scoring 106 points in only 68 regular season games. He then went on to put up 33 points in 22 games, leading the Cyclones to their first ever Kelly Cup. Desharnais was named ECHL Rookie of the Year and MVP. He was also named to the All-Rookie Team and the First All-star Team. Pretty nice professional debut if I do say so myself.
Once again in 2008 Desharnais was invited to the Canadiens training camp, this time getting a 2-year contract from the Habs. He was then assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal’s AHL affiliate. Another successful debut came to Desharnais, this time with the Bulldogs. In the 2008-2009 season, Desharnais put up 58 points in 77 games. Once again Desharnais improved in the 2009-2010 season, leading the Bulldogs in points with 78. He only played 60 games that season. He went on to add 23 points in 19 playoff games with Hamilton that season.
Mid way through another spectacular season in Hamilton, Desharnais had finally achieved his dream. He had been called up to the Canadiens to play his first ever NHL game. He only stayed on the NHL roster for 6 games. He was then sent down to Hamilton to continue his great season. In 2010-2011, Desharnais was called up to the Canadiens on December 31st, 2010. He played 43 games that season, recording 22 points. He also recorded his first ever NHL goal, a tip off a P.K. Subban point shot that went past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He also posted 1 assist in 5 playoff games.
This past season, Desharnais emerged as the Canadiens #1 offensive center, playing between Max Pacioretty and new addition Erik Cole. Desharnais had already developed chemistry with Pacioretty in Hamilton, so they knew each other well. Cole stepped in and took a mentor role on the line. The line was Montreal’s best offensive line, all 3 having career seasons. Desharnais put up 60 points alongside the two power forwards. Desharnais is a great example that it is not the size of the player that counts; it’s the heart of the player that counts.