The "big bear" is a guy the Wild needed in their ranks. After being traded for Benoit Pouliot, Guillaume Latendresse turned on the rockets and never looked back. Then, he got hurt and missed some time. Then, he came into camp about 75 cheeseburgers too many, and... got hurt. Missed some more time. He was put on notice by Chuck Fletcher, and came into camp this season in great shape.
Then, he got hurt. Concussion. Out for the year. Awesome.
The Wild needed him, and they needed him badly. He wasn't around. Not on the roster, not in the room, not even in the building. Questions abound, but there are no answers to give. How will it all add up for grades? You know the drill.
|2011 - Guillaume Latendresse||16||5||4||9||6||20||1||0||1||36|
Nathan- So annoying. I'm just beyond frustrated by Guillaume Latendresse, and it's only partially his fault. The other part is a combination the fault of the Minnesota professional sports franchise's medical departments (both the Wild and Twins need a serious fucking overhaul). But when a guy can't get healthy or stay healthy and people start to question whether he will be able to ever play again ... it's frustrating, especially when they have the talent of someone like Gui and are expected to be a big impact player.
Now ... I'm going to ask why he wasn't in town, or if he was in town why he wasn't ever at the X. Every other injured/scratched player was sitting behind us (no seriously, it was kinda creepy) but Latendresse wasn't part of the team. He wasn't here rehabbing. It makes you wonder if his rehab was even being controlled by the Wild or if he was going down a different path. Whatever, I just want some insight because there's a huge disconnect.
Onto the grade: In his 16 games, he was on pace for 25 goals, 20 assists for 45 points or a .55 ppg pace. That's on par with Heatley, but still below what a top six forward should be, so it's likely a C, but yes, I'm knocking him way down for missing 66 games. I can't not.
Bryan- Latendresse finished 16th out 47 players in scoring. With nine points. Please keep in mind, he played just 16 games this season. He is the big body the Wild were missing all year long, and his presence on the score sheet was palpable. He isn't a 40 goal guy, but there is no reason to believe he wasn't in the 25 - 30 goal range. With a -49 goal differential, 25 to 30 goals would have made a bit of a difference. Just a thought.
Tough to blame a guy for a concussion, but why was he not with the team? Other guys were hurt and with the team. Why was he off in Montreal and not with his team? It makes little sense, and makes me question his desire to be part of the team. Though, apparently he did a couple interviews recently and said otherwise, but hey... what do I know.
Love his game. Wish he was healthier. Wish he would have stuck around even while hurt.
Jesse- Tough to grade the guy this year. Last season was a big, fat "F". He arrived out of shape, poorly conditions, and as a result, suffered a craptastic injury that basically shelved him for a year.
Fast forward to this season. Lats came in lighter, stronger, and in great shape. He was ready to finally earn his money. Things started off pretty well for the Big Bear. 8 points in 14 games and a promotion to the top line with Heatley and Koviu was showing some serious promise. Lats was the power forward that completed the top line. Then the nasty "C" word finished Latendresse off for the season. A rushed recovery gave Wild fans a short, 4-period glimmer of hope, but the post-concussion symptoms returned, putting Gui back on the shelf. He's an RFA, but convincing Fletcher to even pay the arbitration rate is going to be next to impossible. Since his extension, Lats has played in 25 games for the Wild. Not the resume you want to put together to get another paycheck from your employer.
Grade - C-
JS - It's so frustrating to see a guy who could potentially lead the team in scoring play under 20 games in the last two seasons. At least this time, it wasn't his fault. It wasn't because he was out of shape, it's because he got hit on the head. Latendresse, along with Bouchard, are perhaps the biggest ''what could have been'' factors on the team. The Wild (probably) wouldn't have finished dead last in offense with Lats in the lineup. They wouldn't have been anywhere near the top half either, but it would still help. Lats played great this season, especially when up on the first line with Koivu and Heatley. The three of them complimented each other very well and would be a fun line to watch next season if Lats re-signs. In 16 games, he had a 25-goal pace over an 82-game season. It certainly would be nice to see if he can reach both marks. He gets a good grade from me for displaying the offense we wanted to see and for actually being in shape to start the season.