When Guillaume Latendresse signed as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators last July, there was much skepticism about his skill and his ability to stay healthy. When Bryan Murray said that he thought Latendresse was a top 6 forward, I questioned the move and didn’t think he was a good fit as a scoring forward.
Well, judging by the first 5 games he has played, there was good reason for the questions. Latendresse is a terrible skater and doesn’t seem to have the hockey sense to make up for it. Could he play as a third or fourth liner who contributes a big body presence on the power play? He could, but his ice time would be very limited.
With the presence of Mika Zibanejad in the lineup, Latendresse will sit out Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, the team that drafted him. Kaspars Daugavins will go into the lineup in his place and Zibanejad will play a larger role since Jason Spezza is still out.
The reason to take Latendresse out of the lineup must have a lot to do with the speed the Canadiens have on their roster, and the fear that Latendresse would not be able to keep up the pace and would get left behind.
I saw him play for the first time live in last night’s win over the Capitals, and Latendresse was even slower and less mobile than he looked on TV, and that was pretty bad.
Thank goodness it was a one year contract, and look for Latendresse to be a part time player at best as the season goes along, and he can go on his merry way when the season is over to make room for young talent next season.
As for now, I would rather see the speed and development of Zibanejad and the hustle and penalty killing abilty of Daugavins in the lineup ahead of the lumbering Latendresse.