This is the 19th and final post in my three paragraph player reviews series. You can read what I’ve previously had to say about Eric Neilson (who has been re-signed!), Cedric Paquette, and Mike Angelidis by visiting those links, as I won’t be doing any of these “reviews” for them.
Previous players reviewed in this series:
Adam Erne | Artem Sergeev | Brett Connolly | Dmitry Korobov | Henri Ikonen | Joel Vermin | Jonathan Marchessault | Luke Witkowski | Nikita Nesterov | Tanner Richard | Vladislav Namestnikov | Yanni Gourde | Dalton Smith | Drew Olson | Evan Rankin | Geoff Walker | JP Cote | Joey Mormina | Jon DiSalvatore | Philippe Paradis
Exposing forward P.C. Labrie to waivers sending him to Syracuse this past season was supposed to be a calculated risk by Tampa Bay. The left wing is a fan favorite wherever he goes, and during the 12-13 season he helped to get the Crunch off to a great start in their new city in those glorious NHL lockout days. He also helped to energize the slightly-slumping Crunch during a conditioning spin later on in that same season. Similarly, during this past season, the Lightning saw that Syracuse needed a mid-season boost (to, uh, put it lightly), and since they themselves were running low on forward slots, they decided to risk Labrie getting claimed and sent him down.
Unfortunately, Labrie didn’t exactly provide the on-ice boost Tampa (and Syracuse) was looking for him to bring. Although his enthusiastic personality and his friendship with guys like Eric Neilson continued to bring smiles to fans’ faces, his performance did not. Last season, Labrie played in 39 total games with the Crunch. He amassed 18 points (11g, 7a) in those contests.This year, he scored less than half that in almost just as many games. He suited up for 38 games for Syracuse in 13-14, but only managed 6 points (2g, 4a).
As far as leadership goes, it’s hard to judge how much of an impact Labrie had. Last year, Labrie’s mid-season appearance in the locker room coincided almost immediately with a visible uptick in the team’s cohesiveness and performance. However, the team’s struggles this season seemed to indicate deeper leadership problems than what the team faced last year, problems that, in my opinion, originated from both behind the bench and in the dressing room. Labrie’s assignment just didn’t seem to help this year like last year, although it could very well be that one player just wasn’t enough to get through the walls that had already been allowed to be built.
To be fair to Labrie, he was at least one of the players who always had consistent energy, regardless of how the rest of the team was looking. He never looked disinterested and never lacked dedication, which is more than I can say for some other guys this past season. He also didn’t waste time pouting when he was sent down, which he probably would have been justified doing a little considering his one way contract status. His attitude was always positive, and the fans continued to love him because of that.
Labrie will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. I just do not see Tampa offering him a one-way again, not with the way he ended his season in the AHL. Whether he will be re-signed by the organization and see time in Syracuse will depend on negotiations, what he’s willing to take and what other teams may offer him.