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FUTURE WATCH
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Future Watch: Alex Plante

21-year-old Plante sees opportunity in the Barons' post-season quest

Thursday, 14.04.2011 / 6:15 PM / Future Watch
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
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Future Watch: Alex Plante
Alex Plante skates with the Oklahoma City Barons during the 2010-11 season (Photo by Steven Christy / OKC Barons).

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The 2010-11 season provided a new beginning. For 21-year-old defenceman Alex Plante, the challenge was to continue his development path through the winding course of the professional ranks.

Although his 2009-10 campaign with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons was a successful one from a personal standpoint, the new season in Oklahoma City provided an opportunity to continue his personal rise in a brand new, untouched and ready-to-succeed environment.

"It’s been unbelievable," said a smiling Plante. "The city is great. We have a good group of guys here, too. To be part of a winning atmosphere certainly helps, but having that fresh start is a big positive. Everyone came into the season believing that the team could compete. Now we’re ready to show everyone that we will."

With his new home Oklahoma City, the past memories of a disappointing ride in Springfield are now distant in the rearview mirror.

Plante accumulated two goals and nine points in his 49 games with the Falcons last season. His minus-11 rating was another stone in the wall of a disappointing end-result in Springfield, with the Falcons missing out on the post-season party for a seventh consecutive campaign.

It was an experience that Plante believes was a valuable lesson moving forward.

"Despite having a tough season, last year was a good learning experience," he said. "I had never been part of a team that was unable to make the playoffs."

"But you never really want to be a part of that. You want to learn how to win. Everyone in our locker room is competitive and they want to win. That’s what makes this room so special. It’s an exciting time of year for sure."

In Plante’s two seasons as a professional, the bulk of his ice-time has been spent on the farm, keenly developing his craft as an intimidating force on the blueline. His upward development curve has been noticed in Edmonton, as the 6’4" 225 pound rearguard has earned two separate call-ups to make his mark with an early impression.

"It was unbelievable up there," Plante said. "I want to keep striving towards that. Once you get a taste, you want to experience that all the time. I want to better round out my game and try to earn a full-time spot. I think I’m getting closer each day, too. Having the opportunity to play in the post-season certainly helps in a big way."

All things considered, Plante’s callback audition brought him one step closer to the NHL silver screen.

"They want me to play simple," Plante explained. "When I was up there earlier in the year, I was probably trying to do a little bit too much. I wanted to be there, I wanted to show them I wanted to be there. I got away from my game and from the things that make me successful. That was another learning experience. It was only my second call-up, so I'm trying to learn from everything."

"When I'm at my best, my game shouldn't change in the minors or whether I'm playing up top in the NHL. I think at the end of the day, I was able to show them that I’ve been improving. I need to make sure that continues. I’m hungry for that spot."

Rounding out his game has been an ongoing process; a natural development curve that many up-and-coming prospects face early on. Edmonton’s philosophical change as an organization has meant that players with size and toughness will be highlighted. Securing a future spot in the Oilers lineup may come sooner, rather than later.

That decision, naturally, is now on Plante’s shoulders. Having produced two goals and 17 points in 73 games this season with the Barons, his all-encompassing game has provided a new look with balance and stability featuring an updated resume. 

"I feel that I can provide whatever role the coaches want me to. I play at my best when I'm taking care of my own zone, getting that first pass out quick, and shutting other teams' best players down. Not just by running around and hitting guys, but by making sure they don't get too many opportunities."

"Footwork is still a bit of an issue," Plante agreed. "But I’m constantly working on improving that area of my game. It’s getting better all the time."

Although Plante recognizes which areas are most in need of improvement, setting short-term goals has helped him remain focused on the Barons’ upcoming post-season march.

"There are so many different variables that can be changed, with trades, injuries and so on. I try not to get too far ahead, so I set day-by-day or week-by-week goals. That way I still target on which areas I need to improve, but don’t lose focus on my responsibilities to the team."

It’s that drive, focus and determination to succeed that has helped Plante establish his role as a physical, stay-at-home rearguard for the Barons this season. With opportunity growing and the Oilers organization watching intently, the post-season matchup with the Hamilton Bulldogs will, once again, provide the grand stage to impress his bosses and fellow coworkers.

"As a team, we're really looking forward to the post-season run. It's just nice to be in a winning atmosphere right now we're really looking forward to this. It’s so exciting."

Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com

 
2010-11 OILERS PROSPECT STATS (REGULAR SEASON)

Forwards
Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
Cameron Abney   19 60 7 13 20 -3 72 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
mark arcobello
22 26 11 11 22 +7 4 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   23 39 6 5 11 -10 24 Novokuznetsk (KHL)
Philippe Cornet   20 60 7 16 23 +7 8 Oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   18 68 13 30 43 +9 78 kootenay ice (WHL)
Robby Dee   23 36 13 22 32 N/A 26 university of maine (h-east)
Jesse Gimblett * 26 43 13 9 22 +2 98 stockton thunder (echl)
Alexandre Giroux 
29 70 32 46 78 +1 63 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Curtis Hamilton   19 62 26 56 82 +48 22 saskatoon blades (whl)
Teemu Hartikainen 
20 66 17 25 42 -1 27 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kellen Jones   20 38 8 14 22 E 33 quinnipiac university (ecac)
Milan Kytnar   21 78 13 16 29 +5 35 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Anton Lander   19 49 11 15 26 -14 38 timra ik (sel)
Matt Marquardt   23 63 5 7 12 -11 20 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan Martindale   18 65 34 49 83 +38 28 ottawa 67's (ohl)
Colin McDonald   26 80 42 16 58 +2 63 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Brad Moran   31 79 20 52 72 +1 40 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan O'Marra
23 53 2 20 22 +9 49 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Linus Omark 
24 26 14 17 31 +7 32 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ben Ondrus   28 80 8 14 22 -5 72 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kristians Pelss   18 63 14 19 33 +11 29 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 56 27 35 62 +4 31 medicine hat tigets (whl)
Toni Rajala   19 44 9 13 22 -3 4 ilves tampere (fnl)
Liam Reddox *
24 37 18 15 33 +14 16 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Gregory Stewart   24 74 6 10 16 -11 108 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Chris VandeVelde
23 67 12 4 16 -17 45 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Defencemen
Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
Jordan Bendfeld   22 37 3 6 9 +7 119 stockton thunder (echl)
Kyle Bigos   21 33 2 6 8 E 127 merrimack college (h-east)
Jeremie Blain   18 40 2 35 37 +17 48 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)
Taylor Chorney *
23 46 3 13 16 E 22 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Brandon Davidson   19 72 8 43 51 -5 71 regina pats (whl)
Troy Hesketh   19 32 0 1 1 -12 32 sioux city musketeers (ushl)
Martin Marincin   18 67 14 42 56 -12 65 prince george cougars (whl)
KEVIN MONTGOMERY
22 67 4 22 26 +8 42 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Johan Motin *
21 34 1 3 4 -7 30 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Richard Petiot
28 66 0 15 15 +14 52 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Jeff Petry *
23 41 7 17 24 -6 18 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Alex Plante
21 73 2 15 17 +11 138 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Colten Teubert
21 59 4 13 17 +6 83 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Goalies
Name Age GP W L T SO GAA PCT Team
Tyler Bunz   18 56 35 13 8 3 2.47 .919 medicine hat tigers (whl)
Jeff Deslauriers   26 35 17 13 4 0 2.81 .906 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Martin Gerber
36 42 20 16 4 4 2.60 .911 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Bryan Pitton *
22 34 18 10 4 0 2.90 .901 stockton thunder (echl)
Olivier Roy   19 45 29 13 2 2 2.79 .911 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)

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