Centre David Desharnais is packing his bags for Russia after announcing he will be joining KHL team Yaroslavl Lokomotiv for the 2018-19 season. He will join former NHLer Max Talbot in Yaroslavl. Desharnais most recently played for the New York Rangers, ending his season with 28 points in 71 games.
— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) May 15, 2018
Throughout Desharnais nine-year NHL career, he played mostly for the Montreal Canadiens and carried brief stints with the Rangers and Edmonton Oilers. Desharnais was a healthy scratch several times last season by the Rangers due to his inability to produce points in a bottom-six role. His lacklustre defensive play didn’t do him any favours either. The undersized forward, standing at only 5-foot-7 clearly was at the end of his NHL career’s rope. Considering the Rangers are now focusing on developing a younger team, the 31-year-old certainly didn’t fit into those plans.
Desharnais was picked up by the Rangers for a one-year, $1 million contract. The hope was that he would deliver about 10 or so goals on the fourth line and bolster the second power-play unit. The Blueshirts had seen wild success in picking up free agents in the past (see Michael Grabner). However, this would not pan out as well. Desharnais failed to score a single goal in the final 21 games of the season. The centre was also a defensive liability, a -22 on the season. To add to former Rangers coach Alain Vigneault‘s book of secrets, Desharnais often directly replaced Mika Zibanejad when the Swedish-center was injured. The two are hardly comparable, exposing just how big the Blueshirts’ hole at centre ice was (and still is).
Desharnais went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Canadiens in 2008. His best season came in 2011-12, earning a respectable 60 points in 81 games. Unfortunately for the Canadian-born forward, he was never able to live up to his minor league points in the NHL.
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