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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
There were lots of questions surrounding the status of Josh Gorges’ knee after being forced to shut down his 2011-2012 season prematurely. But a legitimately insulting contract offer prior at the beginning of the season was followed by what Habs fans have come to expect from Bob Gainey’s best trade during his tenure as GM: the epitome of a team player.
It was a mixture of concern and optimism with Gorges as the season began. Would his knee hold up? If he played with one and a half knees for so long, what can he do with 2 completely healthy knees? He answered by playing his second complete NHL season in his seven-year career, posting career highs in +/- rating, hits, and blocked shots. His offensive contribution was strong for a defensive defenseman, finishing with 16 points. His true masterpiece was quarterbacking the league’s second best penalty-kill. His league leading 250 shot blocks were miles ahead of any other player in the NHL, with no other player managing to crack the 200 mark. He answered the doubters and was rewarded accordingly with a six year $23.4 million contract extension during the season.
Season stats: 82 GP, 2 G, 14 A, 16 PTS, +14 rating, 39 PIMS, 0 PPG, 0 SHG, 1 GWG, 59 Shots, 22:36 ATOI
Gorges’ role this season will be what is has been for the last few seasons. Defensive juggernaut, stabilizing the defensive core with smart hockey, timely hits, on/off ice leadership and a galaxy of blocked shots. There isn't much room for improvement on the penalty-kill front but expect Gorges to lead the unit to the top echelon of league stats in penalty-kill success. He will continue to be the perennial candidate to replace Brian Gionta as captain of the Canadiens.
If you’re looking for offensive production from Josh Gorges, look elsewhere. I wouldn’t count on an offensive explosion, his career stats simply give no indication that he has the capability to really light it up. His strong points do not transfer into the realm of fantasy stats. Traditional leagues that focus on the offensive side of the NHL will not benefit from having Gorges on the team. It gets interesting for some leagues that include hits, blocked shots and +/- ratings. He could be a late round option to pad those kind of stats, but nothing more.