People talk about it all the time.
A change of scenery, a fresh take, a change is as good as a rest.
So it shouldn’t surprise that a player would rekindle his game in fresh colours.
But if you are going to move, you’d best man-up. Something stopped working and for whatever reason, that something was you.
Which brings us neatly to Nicolas Deschamps, a pleasant surprise for the Toronto Marlies until you dig a little and find he’s just coming out of a nasty detour.
You should notice Deschamps on a line with Philippe Dupuis and Marcel Mueller Tuesday as the Marlies begin the second round of their AHL playoff against the Abbotsford Heat at Ricoh.
There wasn’t much in Nic Deschamps resume up to this season to suggest he would fall off the map.
Deschamps, a six-foot-two 186-pound left-shooting left winger has always been a steady point producer. He scored 58 goals and banked 132 points in his first two years in the Q. Anaheim drafted Deschamps in the second round, 35th overall in 2008.
He attended his first pro camp with Anaheim and was sent back to junior. With Chicoutimi and later Moncton, Deschamps banked 39 goals and 96 points. As a 20-year-old rookie he scored 15 times and added 31 assists. So far so good.
Things went off the rails last fall. Deschamps struggled with the fact that he was sent down. He played poorly. Suddenly, the updraft that had guided his career sent him on an earthbound express.
“I don’t want to blame it on anyone. The blame is on me,” he said. “The coaches were great. My first year was great and then I got sent down. The first couple of games were bad. I got sent to the fourth line which I deserved and I couldn’t get any power play or PK time. I was missing chances. It was just a hard time.”
The Leafs shipped Luca Caputi to Syracuse in January to land Deschamps. The two teams were in Toronto so the players just went in different doors. For his part, Caputi rediscovered his game with 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games with Syracuse. Deschamps scored in his Marlies debut and began piecing things back together.
He booked 30 points in 40 Marlie games compared to seven in 31 games with the Crunch. Just as importantly, he began turning in a solid body of work along the boards.
Despite his gaudy junior numbers, Deschamps is an all-arounder. He may not max out as a top six player but he’s long on try.
“He’s put up a high level of points,” said Leafs VP of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin. “If you combine that with the fact that he can play along the wall, he can play defensive hockey, he can play grinding game, he’s a nice prospect.”
“Nic’s got the package,” said Dupuis. “He has unreal vision, I feel like he finds me everywhere. He’s got a good shot. He works really hard. He’s young. If he keeps going like that he’s going to have a long and bright career.”
Deschamps is enjoying his second wind.
“When I got traded here I wanted to get a feel back for the game. I wanted to stay positive,” he said. “ I could have come here and failed but I think I’ve done pretty well.”