Friday, October 31, 2008

Oilers Top 20 Prospects, #13 D Alex Plante

After a disastrous season following his 1st round selection by the Edmonton Oilers, Alex Plante appears to be back on track. First he came to Oilers camp and had an extended stay while refusing to report to the Calgary Hitmen camp. In that time he showed some signs of improvement and some of what the Oilers obviously had seen to draft him in the middle of the 1st round.

Plante has a huge frame, a good shot, and he can also move the puck pretty well. A definite long term project, the Oilers could reap the rewards of being patient with the 6'4" 220lb. blueliner. He has already far surpassed his disappointing totals from '07-08, and he has been a part of a very productive blueline in Calgary this season. The Hitmen have 4 of the top 25 scoring defensemen in the WHL with Plante being the lowest scoring of the quartet with 9 points (2-7-9) in 14 games.

However unlike his fellow high scoring Hitmen defensemen, Plante is really racking up the penalty minutes. 48 penalty minutes in 14 games to be exact. His penalty breakdown is very diverse, general penalties: Interference 3, tripping 1, high sticking 1, unsportsmanlike conduct 1, hooking 2, holding 1. And for aggressive penalties: Fighting 4, roughing 4, elbowing 1

Plante definitely seems to be ready, willing, and able to play a tough "in your face game". With his size and offensive potential, in time he could become the player that the Oilers anticipated that he'd become when going off a number of draft boards to select Plante with the 15th overall pick in 2007.

However based on his penalty breakdown, it appears as if his speed is still the major concern with this player. 7 penalties that are generally taken when a player is beaten on a play or possibly due to careless use of the stick, as well as a few plays that sometimes just happen in the course of a game.

His mobility will be what catapults him to the NHL or keeps him in the lower levels of North American pro hockey. However if his skating comes around Oilers fans can only smile when thinking about a Theo Peckham/Alex Plante defensive pairing knocking heads in the Oilers defensive zone.


raventalon40 said...

Any word on William Quist? I remember seeing him at the Oilers and U of A rookies game a couple years ago and he looked great.

Bryanbryoil said...

I know that the Oilers really wanted Quist to play in the CHL this year but he decided to stay in Sweden. He is currently playing in the league below the SEL and has 1 goal and no assists in 14 games according to Seachd's prospects stats thread on HF.

B.C.B. said...

I'd disagree with your analysis of Plante's penalties.
Plante has 4 penalties which relate to his speed (tripping, hocking, and holding), and the interference calls would be sloopy defensive play. Also if you remove the unsportmans-like call since it is a impossible to classify (for fighting, lipping off the ref, etc...) the aggressive penalties outnumber the other ones.

But you are right about Plante's skating: I am surprised the Oilers don't hire a skating coach to hang out in California in the off season (many young players could work on their skating and strength)

Bryanbryoil said...

Interference can also be due to getting beaten to spots and not just poor positioning/decisions.