Our monthly three stars return with a new twist. With the Habs out of
the picture, our focus shifts to the Hamilton Bulldogs as well as Montreal’s
prospects playing at other levels. We all know that one junior prospect
had a month to remember but there were plenty of others who played well.
For the Bulldogs, the numbers aren’t quite so pretty but there were a few
players who stood out amongst the crowd.
1st Star: Brendan Gallagher
I have to admit, Gallagher is surpassing my expectations early on this year.
I had questions about whether or not he could create his own offence due to a
lack of a supporting cast around him. His five goals represent 25% of
Hamilton’s goal production for November. Not only is that a glaring
indictment about their offensive struggles but it also shows that he has been
able to adjust to playing at the AHL level.
Stats: 11 GP, 5-2-7, -3 rating, 32 SOG, 25 PIMS
2nd Star: Gabriel Dumont
Dumont’s name doesn’t come up a whole lot when it comes to production but he
has quietly been one of Hamilton’s more consistent performers in that end in the
early stages of the year. That’s not the only reason why I’m putting him
second though. His work on the penalty kill (at home) has been splendid;
the Bulldogs now have a sparkling 95% PK on home ice. Dumont’s best role
is when he is a part of a supporting cast (instead of a go-to scorer) and last
month, he played that role well.
Stats: 11 GP, 1-4-5, even rating, 24 SOG, 15 PIMS
3rd Star: Aaron Palushaj
On the whole, November was a so-so month for Palushaj. He spent time on
the fourth line after being demoted for a lack of production and inconsistent
defensive effort. On the plus side, he became more of a scoring threat as
the month went on but the defensive concerns are still there. However,
progress is still progress no matter how slow it is and three goals on this team
constitutes above average play. He needs to be a leader on this team, the
time for him to step up is now.
Stats: 11 GP, 3-2-5, -6 rating, 26 SOG, 16 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Michael Blunden
Scoring chances aren’t officially tracked in the AHL but if they were, I’d be
shocked if Blunden wasn’t one of the team leaders for November. Blunden
and his line usually could be counted on for a lot of the Bulldogs’ offensive
pressure in any particular game. Of course the downside is that he failed
to capitalize on a lot of these opportunities. Still, chances are a lot
better than what the rest of the team could muster up while he provided a
necessary physical presence inside the top-6.
Stats: 11 GP, 2-1-3, -1 rating, 19 SOG, 11 PIMS
1st Star: Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia, OHL
It was a terrific month for the Habs’ top prospect. Galchenyuk picked
up points in nine of eleven games and had multiple points in all but one of
those contests; this bumped him up to third in OHL scoring. What really
impressed me, aside from his ability to take over games seemingly at will at
times, was the fact that most of his production came 5-on-5 (only six of his
points were on the man advantage). To the surprise of precisely no one, he
is on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors and should spend a
good chunk of this month with that squad.
Stats: 11 GP, 8-15-23, +4 rating, 6 PIMS
2nd Star: Charles Hudon, Chicoutimi, QMJHL
The Habs’ 5th rounder returned to action at the beginning of the month after
missing two weeks with a concussion and he spent November making up for lost
time. He collected points in each of his final ten games, kick starting
the longest active points streak in the QMJHL. He also was impressive
playing a variety of roles in a pair of games against Russia in the Super Series
and is a strong candidate to play for Team Canada at the upcoming World Juniors.
Stats: 12 GP, 6-9-15, +6 rating, 22 SOG, 12 PIMS
3rd Star: Danny Kristo, North Dakota, WCHA
Kristo is supposed to be the go-to guy in this, his senior season.
Although his team isn’t living up to lofty expectations, that can’t be pinned on
him. With a strong month of November, Kristo has jumped to the top of
North Dakota’s scoring race and has been their best offensive threat on several
nights. He recently was placed on a line with fellow Montreal prospect
Mark MacMillan; that trio has played quite well since coming together.
Stats: 9 GP, 5-5-10, even rating, 33 SOG, 8 PIMS
Honourable Mention: Magnus Nygren, Farjestad, SEL
I touched on Nygren’s season so far in my last
HW Recap earlier in
the week but he gets another mention here after a strong November. He
continued to earn more ice time throughout the month to give him the team lead
in points by a blueliner. He’s doing exactly what he needs to in order to
make the Habs want to give a contract by June.
Stats: 10 GP, 2-5-7, 6 PIMS