He's not flashy, he's not a star player, but he gets the job done. Pierre-Luc Létourneau-Leblond (PL3) joins the WBS Penguins, bringing with him a veteran presence and a boatload of grit.
Before you get excited (or worried, I know tough guys don't get a lot of love these days) he is strictly an AHL signing, so he will be at the bottom of the lineup in WBS competing for ice time with other tough guys like Steve MacIntyre, Harry Zolnierczyk, Zach Sill, and Bobby Farnham. Although one compelling theory floating around is that his signing is insurance against the possibility of Sill moving up to the NHL this year.
If you couldn't guess from the name, PL3 hails from Quebec. The 28 year old 6'2" 209lbs winger is a veteran of 40 NHL games, 275 AHL games, 58 ECHL games, and 31 UHL games over the past 8 seasons. He was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 7th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and spent the first 6 years of his pro career bouncing between the NHL and their minor league affiliates. He was then traded to the Calgary Flames in 2011 in exchange for a 5th round pick and spent the majority of the season with their AHL affiliate. He spent last summer as an unsigned FA but found a place with the Anaheim Ducks following the end of the lockout, and once more spent the season playing in the AHL.
He is much more well known for his ability to rack up penalty minutes (led the AHL with 334 PIM in 2010-11) than he is his ability to rack up points and is certainly not shy about dropping the gloves. Last year he only threw down the gauntlets 9 times, but the two seasons prior to that he racked up 22 and 26 fights. I'm actually starting to wonder if maybe Big Mac is planning to hang up the skates, since they would explain the infusion of toughness at the bottom of the lineup.
Scouting Report from The Hockey News:
Assets: Has excellent size and the tools to play an up-and-down game from the wing position. Is a physical presence with an aggressive nature. Can drop the gloves and fair quite well. Flaws: Doesn't own much scoring potential, and must also improve his defensive-zone coverage. Needs to always play a focused game as to not put his team in trouble. Career Potential: Heavyweight enforcer.
Scouting Report from Hockey's Future:
Prospect Talent Score: 3. Average minor league forward – players who will in all likelihood spend their entire careers in the minor leagues.
Talent AnalysisMost of Leblond-Letourneau's skills rest in his fists, as he is a fearless fighter. The winger has good size at 6-2, 208 lbs, and he still has some growing left to do. Judging by his statistics last season, Leblond-Letourneau needs to work on his offensive game. It will be interesting to see if he develops some offense to his game as he progress in the QMJHL.
FutureLeblond-Letourneau's future depends on his ability to develop an all around game to complement his toughness. fourth line fighters are becoming more scarce in the NHL, and since that is likely the only way Leblond-Letourneau makes it to the NHL, he has a lot of work ahead of himself to make it to the NHL.